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Immigration Law Blog

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Eligibility for Employment Authorization Granted to Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses of H-1B Nonimmigrant Workers

Effective May 26, 2015, the Department of Homeland Security’s United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) division will extend employment authorization eligibility to specific H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrant workers seeking employment-based permanent residence in the United States. 

H-4 dependent spouses must meet the following conditions to be eligible to apply for employment authorization based on their H-4 status:

  • The H-1B nonimmigrant spouse must be the principal beneficiary of an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker; or
  • The H-1B nonimmigrant spouse must have been granted H-1B status in the United States under the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000, as amended by the 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act, sections 106(a) and (b).  This provision allows H-1B nonimmigrant workers seeking lawful permanent residence in the U.S. to work and remain in the country beyond the 6-year H-1B status limit when their lawful permanent residence process has been pending for at least 365 days.

The rule will allow eligible H-4 dependent spouses to file an Application for Employment Authorization, Form I-765, along with supporting documentation and the required fee of $380 in order to be permitted to work in the U.S. and receive an Employment Authorization Document/Card (Form I-766).  Once USCIS approves the Form I-765 and the H-4 dependent spouse receives an EAD, he or she may begin working in the United States in any type of employment.

As a reminder to those eligible for applying, the USCIS will start accepting applications beginning May 26, 2015.  We would be happy to assist any potential applicants with this process. 

For the official announcement, please visit the USCIS website at http://www.uscis.gov/news/dhs-extends-eligibility-employment-authorization-certain-h-4-dependent-spouses-h-1b-nonimmigrants-seeking-employment-based-lawful-permanent-residence.


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