Immigration Update: EAD Eligibility for H-4 spouses

Amanda Carrano Franklin, Stephen (Steve) M. Hader

Effective on May 26, 2015, certain dependent spouses of H-1B workers will be eligible for employment authorization. Specifically, H-4 spouses will be eligible for this new benefit provided their H-1B nonimmigrant worker spouse meets one of the following criteria: 

  • The H-1B worker is the principal beneficiary of an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Worker Petition;


  • The H-1B worker has 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.

Eligible H-4 spouses will be required to file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization with USCIS and provide the required supporting evidence and fee. USCIS will begin accepting applications on May 26, 2015.

Once USCIS approves the Form I-765, the H-4 spouse will receive an Employment Authorization document (EAD).  Upon receiving the EAD, the H-4 spouse may begin working in the U.S.

Please contact an MVA team member if you have any questions regarding this new benefit.



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