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All 15-year-olds in the United States are required to have a work permit before obtaining employment. The guidelines to qualify for a work permit differ from state to state. Some states require the 15-year-old to meet a minimum standard of high school performance, such as a minimum grade-point average, while other states have no such requirement.
The times of day, number of hours per week, and types of jobs that a 15-year-old will be allowed to work also are restricted. The specific limits of those restrictions vary depending on where the teen lives.
Apply for a Social Security number if the 15-year-old is a citizen and does not yet have an Social Security number. If the teenager is not a U.S. citizen, obtain the alien certification number of the parent.
Complete the online work permit authorization form, which can be found on the Department of State website for the state in which the 15-year-old wants to work. Print this form.
Submit this form to an authorized signer. State laws vary with regard to who is eligible to be an authorized signer, but in most cases, it will be either a school principal, a designated representative chosen by a school district superintendent, or both. Some states do not allow school principals to be an authorized signer, and require that the signer come from the superintendent office, while other states are more lenient.
Check your state laws. These laws will be written on the Department of State website.
Show the principal or superintendent the birth certificate or passport of the 15-year-old. The school official will verify that the identification and teenager match. If the state requires a minimum grade-point average requirement or any other minimum school performance requirement, the principal or superintendent will verify that the teenager has met these requirements.
The school principal or superintendent will then either submit the signed form to the Department of Labor directly, or will return the form to you for submission to the Department of Labor.
Present a copy of the 15-year-old's work permit form to the15-year-old's employer. The employer is required to keep this form on file.
If the 15-year-old lives in one state and wants to work in a different state -- for example, if the teenager lives at the border between two states -- the teenager will need a work permit for the state in which he wants to work.
Kennedi Rose is an Atlanta-based journalist who began her career in 2005 as a newspaper reporter covering the education beat. She has written for a wide variety of commercial, trade and online magazines covering food, drink and the retail sector. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in sociology.