As part of the Administration’s package of Executive Actions on immigration, a new rule went into effect on May 26, 2015 allowing certain dependent spouses of H-1B workers, who hold H-4 status, to apply for an employment authorization card.
The new policy authorizes H-4s to obtain work authorization where the H-1B spouse is already on the way to permanent resident status through an employment based petition.
This initiative is intended to provide more economic stability and better quality of life for the affected families, and at the same time help U.S. high-skilled businesses attracting and retaining needed workers who have committed to permanent employment in the United States.
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) estimated that it could receive as many as 179,600 applications during the first year of eligibility, with a maximum of 55,000 annually in subsequent years.
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 for Alien Worker; 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). 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.
For further information regarding this topic or to schedule a consultation, please contact our office at 954-843-3494
See more at: http://www.uscis.gov/news/dhs-extends-eligibility-employment-authorization-certain-h-4-dependent-spouses-h-1b-nonimmigrants-seeking-employment-based-lawful-permanent-residence
About the Authors
Laura Schonberg and Andrea Timerman developed their passion for immigration law through their own experience immigrating to the United States. Laura received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Juris Doctor Degree from Florida International University. Andrea received a Bachelors in Business Administration from Pace University, NY, and her Juris Doctor Degree from Florida International University. Both attorneys obtained ample experience in the immigration field before partnering to work as immigration attorneys at Schonberg & Timerman, P.L.