Employment Authorization for Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses

March 6, 2016

In rule changes implemented last year, the U.S. government now permits certain H-4 dependent spouses to obtain employment authorization in the United States. The spouses of two categories of H-1B beneficiaries are covered by this change:

  1. Those H-1B spouses who are the principal beneficiary of an approved Form I-140 filed by their employer; or
  2. Those H-1B spouses that have been granted H-1B status or an extension of stay in H-1B status under sections 106(a) and (b) of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000 (AC21)

To be eligible for an EAD, eligible H-4 dependent spouses must submit the following information:

  1. Evidence of H-4 status – usually through a copy of Form I-94 or Form I-797 if there was a previously filed application to change nonimmigrant status
  2. Photo identification – a copy of your last EAD if you were issued one or a copy of the biometric page of your passport
  3. Relationship to the H-1B beneficiary – a copy of your marriage certificate
  4. Evidence that the H-1B beneficiary falls into one of the two categories outlined above –
    1. A copy of the H-1B holder’s approval notice for Form I-140; or
    2. Evidence establishing a basis for an extension of stay under the applicable provisions of AC21:
      1. A copy of the H-1B holder’s passport, prior I-94s, and current and prior I-797s for Form I-129 (Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker) and
        1. Evidence that the H-1B holder is the beneficiary of a labor certification application that was filed at least 365 days prior to the expiration of the 6-year period of stay in H-1B status; OR
        2. If appropriate, evidence that the H-1B holder’s Form I-140 was filed at least 365 days prior to the expiration of the 6-year period of stay in H-1B status.

Please contact us for an initial consultation to take advantage of this recent change in immigration law.

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