In many states, people under the age of 18 must obtain a work permit in order to seek employment. Certain exceptions may apply such as agriculture or domestic services employment, but for work in retail, fast food, or other environments, minors must have a work permit to show prospective employers. If you are hired without a work permit, your employer can be fined by the state.
A few states have made it easier for minors to obtain a work permit by allowing them to complete some, if not all, of the application process right online.
Work permits are issued by the state. Visit your state's Department of Labor website to learn what the requirements are for where you live.
In Georgia, minors should visit the Department of Labor website to access the online employment certificate (work permit) system. Go to child labor under quick links and choose the Get a Youth Employment Certificate (Work Permit) option.
Select the "minor" option; enter your Social Security Number or Parent Alien Certification number (for minors under 15), your date of birth, and then choose "Submit"; enter your name, your parent's name, address, and more; verify that all fields have been completed and that the information submitted is correct. Once done, you will receive a ten character Minor Security Key (MSK); take this with you to your potential employer (see Reference 1).
In North Carolina, minors may obtain a work permit online provided that they already have a firm job offer. Accept your employer's offer of employment and fill out your application online (see Reference 2).
Other states offer similar procedures for minors including Maryland, which will allow you to fill out the information online, print it out, and take it to an issuing officer with your online application receipt along with an official document (such as your birth certificate) to verify age. Indiana also allows minors to apply for a work permit online. Follow the instructions pertinent to your state (see Reference 3).
For those states whose work permit application is online, you can make the process as smooth as possible by having important information on hand before you begin. Your social security number; potential employer's legal name and address; school information; the names of your parent(s) or legal guardian; and your driver's license number if you drive will be needed. Collect the required documentation and information before you begin your application.