Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer or an Uber representative. This article is my personal interpretation of Uber’s policy and the law. You should speak to an attorney if you’re a non-US citizen looking to drive for Uber.
Are you eligible to become an Uber driver if you’re not a citizen of the US? I’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?
It’s not an easy question to answer because Uber doesn’t publicly explain rules for noncitizens, and as a noncitizen you might not want to risk your residency status by trying to apply for a job that could cause trouble with immigration officials. I wanted to get to the bottom of this, so I emailed my local Uber support team for a clear answer that can help you make a more informed decision.
Uber says: You need a Social Security number to become a driver
I asked an Uber representative if a noncitizen can drive for Uber, and I got this brief response:
“The background check requires a Social Security number. If the potential partner has a Social Security number then that would work.”
So…that’s it? I was hoping that the Uber rep would explain whether visa workers and other nonresidents in the US are permitted by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS, the agency that oversees immigration) to drive for Uber, but instead I got that deceptively simple answer.
You qualify for Uber if you have a Social Security number, but an SSN isn’t always work authorization
All you need to drive for Uber is a Social Security number (along with all the other Uber driver requirements), and the SSN is used for the background check and tax information. 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 offer a detailed answer to the question.
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.
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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 could theoretically qualify for Uber, but the terms of residency for many visas would prohibit it. 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. That usually includes:
- Permanent residents (green card holders)
- Refugees, and those granted political
If your immigration status or visa prohibits you from working, or working outside of a specific field, you can’t drive for Uber.
Types of non-US citizens who can NOT drive 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
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.
An SSN is not always a work authorization
Can you drive for Uber with an international driver 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 non citizens for tax processing purposes. You can’t drive for Uber with 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 non resident 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 at least 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 my research, I’ve found that the AB-60 license won’t qualify you for Uber.
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The problem: Uber might hire 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 by doing so you may be violating the terms of your visa or residency. If you’re in the US on a 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 and protect you from immigration problems. In the end, it’s your responsibility to figure out whether or not you can drive for Uber.
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