H-4 Dependent Spouses May Now Apply for Employment Authorization

Junge indische Geschäftsfrau sitzend im BüroUSCIS put into effect a new rule on May 26, 2015, allowing certain H-4 spouses to apply for work authorization. Previously, USCIS did not provide work authorization to any H-4 spouses. Since last Tuesday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) began accepting applications for employment authorization from H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants who are seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident status. Premium processing is not available for this application.

To qualify, the H-1B beneficiary spouse must be the principal beneficiary of an approved Form I-140 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker) or must have been granted H-1B status under sections 106(a) and (b) of AC-21. AC-21 allows H-1B nonimmigrants seeking lawful permanent residence to work and remain in the U.S. beyond the six-year limit on their H-1B status.

An H-4 spouse only qualifies for work authorization if he or she has maintained lawful status in the U.S. and is present in the U.S. Accordingly, this means that the H-1B worker must also remain in lawful status to qualify. H-4 spouses with work authorization may continue to renew their authorization as long as they remain eligible. Employment authorization for H-4 spouses is also unrestricted, meaning that such authorization is not limited to a specific employer and it does not prohibit self-employment or entrepreneurial ventures.

Berardi Immigration Law regularly prepares work employment applications for clients holding a variety of statuses. If you believe you or your spouse may qualify for an EAD, please contact our office today to speak with one of our attorneys.

Berardi Immigration Law stars divider