Employment Authorization Now Available to Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses of H-1B Nonimmigrants

Effective May 26, 2015, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin extending eligibility for employment authorization to certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants who are seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident (LPR) status. 

Eligible individuals include certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants who:

  • Are the principal beneficiaries of an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition; or 
  • Have been granted H-1B status under sections 106(a) and (b) of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000 as amended by the 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act. The Act permits H-1B nonimmigrants seeking lawful permanent residence to work and remain in the United States beyond the six-year limit on their H-1B status.

Under the rule, eligible H-4 dependent spouses must file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization with supporting evidence and the required $380 fee in order to obtain employment authorization and receive a Form I-766, Employment Authorization Document (EAD).  USCIS will begin accepting applications on May 26, 2015.  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.

The cards will be issued within approximately 90 days of receipt of the application, so in all likelihood those who qualify will be able to get employment authorization by August 26, 2015.