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EAD Applications for H-4 Visa Holders Starts May 26, 2015

EAD Applications for H-4 Visa Holders Starts May 26, 2015

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on February 24, 2015 that they will begin accepting Employment Authorization applications from certain eligible H-4 visa holders on May 26, 2015. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) approved the final rules to allow such H-4 dependents of H-1B nonimmigrants to gain employment in the United States.

Those eligible to apply for employment authorization will be H-4 dependents of H-1B visa holders who:

    • Have an approved Form I-140; or
    • Have been granted an extension of stay beyond the six-year H-1B visa limit under AC21 (American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act of 2000) based on a pending PERM Labor Certification application or a Form I-140 application that has been pending adjudication for more than 365 days.

The rules limit employment authorization only to the spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants who are seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident status in the U.S. Eligible H-4 visa holders must file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, and submit supporting evidence along with the $380 filing fee to USCIS. If approved, applicants will receive a Form I-766, Employment Authorization Document (EAD), which will allow them to accept employment in the U.S.

USCIS emphasizes, however, that the new rules do not go into effect until May 26, 2015, and USCIS cannot accept applications that are filed before the effective date. Thus, eligible applicants under the new rules should not submit applications early and should wait until May 26, 2015 to do so.