No Quota or Filing Deadline Imposed on H-4 EAD Benefit

As reported in our last newsletter, the Department of Homeland Security has finalized a regulatory change that will allow certain H4 dependent spouses to apply for employment authorization documents (EADs). The new regulation will go into effect on May 26, 2015 and remain open for applications thereafter. There is no specific time limit nor quota imposed on the H-4 EAD benefit. This is unlike the H1B Cap that the principal spouse may have had experience with.

As a summary, for a H4 spouse to be eligible, the principal H1B worker must either (1) be the beneficiary of an approved I-140, or (2) have extended H1B status beyond six years based on the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act (AC21). The EAD provides unrestricted employment authorization. It can be used to work full or part time, for any employer in any field or position.

In order to obtain permission to work, a H4 spouse will be required to file Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization, along with the proper filing fee. This will be accompanied by proof that the applicant holds H-4 status and that the H1B spouse has maintained valid status and falls within one of the two qualifying categories mentioned above.

Please contact our office if you have any questions or would like to speak with an attorney regarding eligibility.