Reminder: Effective today, May 26, 2015, the Immigration Service will accept applications for employment authorization from “certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants”. (Employment Authorization for Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses Web page).
An H-4 spouse may only apply for an EAD (employment authorization document) if the H-4’s H-1B spouse is pursuing US permanent residence. More specifically, the H-4 spouse may not file an EAD application unless the H-1B spouse:
- Is the principal beneficiary of an approved I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, OR
- Has H-1B status under sections 106(a) and (b) of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000 (as amended by AC21).
Of course, H-4 status isn’t the only status that an H-1B spouse may hold. USCIS had previously announced that where a non-H-4 spouse applies for H-4 status, it will first change the status of the qualifying spouse to H-4 and then adjudicate the application for employment authorization. This will add another step to the process and take more time.
Please see my prior post on this topic, “H-4 EAD Applications Accepted Beginning May 26, 2015: Are you that “certain spouse”?” for more information.
Ms. Wadhwani is a partner in the Immigration Group at Fox Rothschild LLP. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.