Work permit for H4 visa holders, finally a reality..!
It’s heartening that US government finally took action after years to help legal immigrants, who form the real backbone of this country. US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Leon Rodriguez announced recently that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is extending eligibility for employment authorization to certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B non immigrants who are seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident (LPR) status.starting May 26, 2015.
About H4 EAD Work Permit
EAD – (Employment Authorization Document) Under existing regulations spouses of H1B workers are not allowed to work in U.S.A This proposed rule will amend existing regulations to allow H-4 spouses of certain H-1B workers to request Employment Authorization Document (EAD)
Eligibility Criteria to get EAD Work Permit
For the H-4 spouse to be eligible for work authorization, the H-1b spouse must EITHER:
- Be the Beneficiary of an approved I-140; OR
- Have been granted an H-1b extension BEYOND the initial six year period based on a pending or approved Labor Certification (PERM) or I-140, which was filed more than 365 days previously.
- The H-4 EADs is for H-4 Spouses ONLY. H-4 dependent children will not be eligible for this work authorization.
- The H-4 spouse will need to apply for work authorization using form I-765.
- The soonest that these can be submitted to the United States Immigration Service (USCIS) is May 26, 2015
What is Approved I-140 to get EAD for H4?
It means employer should have started Green Card Process and H1B worker should have completed Step 2 of the Green Card Process for H4 spouse to get EAD work permit, this criteria disqualifies several thousand H4 Visa spouses.
As of today, if you start your green card process with your employer, it can take anywhere from 1 to 1.5 years to get I-140 approval.
August 2014 Update:
- About 6 months to File PERM Labor
- About 5 months for Approval
- About 5 months for I-40 Approval in regular processing
- If you haven’t started your green card process, now will be good time to talk to your employer.
What is AC21 Extension to get EAD for H4?
AC21 stands for American Competitiveness in the 21st Century Act. It means H1b employee have been granted an extension of their authorized period of stay in the United States under AC21.
It gives two benefits
- Allows H1B Workers to change jobs before getting green card
- Allows extension of H-1B visa status beyond the 6-year limit.
So, that’s second criteria to get EAD
How to Apply?
Eligible H4 dependent spouses must file I-765 form, Application for Employment Authorization, with supporting evidence and a $380 fee to get work authorization and to receive I-766 form and EAD. USCIS will start accepting the applications from May 26, 2015. Once the I-765 has been approved, H4 dependent spouse will receive EAD and can start working in US.
Finally it is a really good move by the US Govt. to help H4 visa holders about 97,000 H4 visa holders can apply for EAD. And plus 30,000 more per year.The rule also will bring U.S. immigration policies more in line with those laws of other countries that compete to attract similar highly skilled workers.
H4 EAD Filing – Document List
Note: H-4 EADs must be filed using the paper form. If you are filing for an H-4 spouse after May 26, 2015, you need to include the following
- Copy of the applicant’s passport biographical page
- Copy of the applicant’s visa and I-94 record (downloaded from cbp.gov/I-94) to evidence H-4 status
- Copy of previous EADs held by the applicant (if applicable)
- Copy of the principal’s passport biographical page, visa, and I-94 record (downloaded from cbp.gov/I94) to evidence H-1B status
- Copy of the principal’s I-140 approval notice or PERM DOL status page (this document should be a part of the principal employee’s H-1B approval package)
- Copy of the marriage certificate (with translation if original is not in English)
- Copy of the most recent pay-stub for the principal applicant from employer
- 2 passport sized photos that conform to US requirements