Work Permission for H-4 Visa Holders: Long Awaited Employment Authorization has Finally Arrived for Work Permission for H-4 Visa Holders: Long Awaited Employment Authorization has Finally Arrived for

Work Permission for H-4 Visa Holders: Long Awaited Employment Authorization has Finally Arrived for Certain Dependent Spouses of H-1B Workers

In the midst of the controversy surrounding portions of the President's Executive Action on immigration, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has made an important announcement confirming certain H-4 dependent spouses will be eligible to apply for employment authorization beginning May 26, 2015.
 
The final rule applies only to H-4 dependent spouses whose H-1B non-immigrant spouses are at a certain stage of the Lawful Permanent Resident (or "green card") process.  More specifically, for an H-4 spouse to qualify for employment authorization, his or her H-1B non-immigrant spouse must be the beneficiary of an approved I-140 immigrant petition or have been granted H-1B status beyond the normal six (6) year maximum.
 
As noted in the press release from USCIS, finalizing the rule on H-4 employment eligibility was an important element of the President Obama's Executive Action, announced in November 2014.  The intent of the rule is to take financial pressure off of H-1B non-immigrants and their families as they remain in the United States in H-1B status for numerous years awaiting final processing of their green-card applications.
 
To apply for employment authorization, eligible H-4 dependent spouses must file an I-765 application with the requisite supporting evidence and the $380 filing fee. USCIS will begin accepting applications on May 26, 2015.  Once USCIS approves the I-765 application and the H-4 dependent spouse receives an approved Employment Authorization Document (EAD), he or she is authorized for employment in the United States.
 
If you have questions related to H-4 employment authorization eligibility, requirements or other immigration matters, please feel free to contact Jenifer M. Brown, Christl Glier, Lindsay Ramsey or another member of the firm's immigration practice.

This publication is intended for general information purposes only and does not and is not intended to constitute legal advice. The reader must consult with legal counsel to determine how laws or decisions discussed herein apply to the reader's specific circumstances. 
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