Disclaimer: We are not attorneys. This article is our interpretation of Uber’s policies and immigration law. You should speak to an attorney if you’re a non-US citizen looking to drive for Uber or any other gig economy app.
Are you eligible to become an Uber driver if you’re not a citizen of the US? We’ve seen this question from international students looking to make extra money and visa workers who want a second job.
Do you have to have a green card (permanent residency status), or can you work for Uber while you hold other types of visas?
And as a noncitizen, you might not want to risk your residency status by applying for a job that could cause issues with immigration officials.
To get to the bottom of this, here is the latest information from Uber and general US employment law.
- You need an SSN to qualify for Uber. It is required for the background check
- F1, H1B and H2B visas may prohibit driving for Uber
- Permanent residents (green card) can drive for Uber
- Always consult an attorney!
Uber says: You need a social security number to become a driver
Here’s what Uber support says about the SSN requirement: “The background check requires a Social Security number, and all drivers must undergo background screening. If the potential partner has a Social Security number, then that would work.”
Uber reps would not explain further about the rules surrounding visa workers and other nonresidents.
You qualify for Uber if you have a social security number, but an SSN doesn’t always authorize you to work
But is it a good idea for noncitizens to drive for Uber? Can driving for Uber affect your working visa status or residency status?
Uber doesn’t acknowledge that there are special circumstances that allow a person to have a Social Security number without having legal permission to work for Uber.
Uber says you can drive, but the US government might not agree.
Which non-US citizens can get a Social Security number?
- Permanent residents (green card holders), refugees, people granted political asylum
- Work visa holders (H1B, H2B)
- International students
- People who aren’t permitted to work in the US, but need an SSN to apply for other government benefits
All of the above SSN holders could theoretically qualify for Uber, but the terms of residency for many visas would prohibit working with Uber.
An SSN is not always a work authorization!
Which non-US citizens can drive for Uber?
If you have an SSN and there are no restrictions on your ability to work in the US, you can drive for Uber.
Nonresidents that typically don’t have work restrictions include:
- Permanent residents (green card holders)
- Refugees and those granted political asylum
You can’t drive for Uber if your immigration status or visa prohibits you from working outside of a specific field, you can’t drive for Uber.
Types of non-US citizens who can NOT drive for Uber
If your visa prohibits you from working outside a specified field, you can’t drive for Uber. Don’t risk your residency status by working for Uber.
- International students (F1 visa) — Your work must relate to your studies
- Non-resident workers (H1B, H2B visa) — You can only do the job specified in your visa
- Undocumented immigrants — You don’t have the SSN or legal status needed to work for Uber
An SSN is not always a work authorization
Can you drive for Uber with an international driver’s license?
No. You must have a US driver’s license for at least one year. Uber does not consider international driving experience.
Can you drive for Uber with an ITIN?
An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is a number issued to some noncitizens for tax processing purposes.
You can’t drive for Uber with only an ITIN. You won’t be able to complete the background check with only an ITIN, and it would be against the law to work as a nonresident without permission to work in the US.
California: Can you drive for Uber with an AB-60 license?
Most likely not. AB-60 licenses are for undocumented immigrants who do not have a social security number.
You need a social security number to drive for Uber, and if you have a social security number, you can get a regular CA license.
I asked Uber if drivers with an AB-60 are qualified to drive, but they never gave me a direct answer. From our research, I’ve found that the AB-60 license won’t qualify you for Uber.
A problem: Uber might accept you even if it violates your visa!
You may be able to get a Social Security number as a non-US citizen and begin driving for Uber, but you may be violating the terms of your visa or residency by doing work outside the scope of your visa.
If you have an F1, H1B, or H2B visa, driving for Uber most likely violates the terms of your visa.
Don’t depend on Uber to figure out your unique immigration status or protect you from immigration problems! Ultimately, it’s your responsibility to figure out whether or not you can drive for Uber.
What about the other apps? Lyft, DoorDash, Instacart, Shipt, etc
All the gig apps have similar requirements: You must have an SSN to apply and pass the background screening.
If you’re on a work visa and you have an SSN, you may be able to apply for gig apps like Lyft, DoorDash, and Instacart, but working for those apps may violate the terms of your visa.
Talk to an immigration lawyer first!
Immigration law is complicated. Mistakes can have an irreversible effect on your residency status and your visa, so you should consult with an immigration attorney before you apply to drive for Uber.
More about Uber driver requirements