On February 24th, 2014, USCIS director Leon Rodriguez announced that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has amended a regulation which will allow spouses of H-1B visa holders seeking legal permanent resident status (LPR) to obtain employment authorization documents (EAD). This regulatory update is part of president Obama’s broader executive action outlined in November 2014. USCIS estimates 179,600 individuals will be eligible immediately and 55,000 annually in subsequent years.
To qualify, an individual must be an H-4 dependent of an H-1B nonimmigrant who:
- Is the principal beneficiary of an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker; or
- Has been granted H-1B status under sections 106(a) and (b) of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000.
USCIS will not accept applications until May 26, 2015, when the rule becomes effective. Qualifying individuals must file form I-765 “Application for Employment Authorization” along with supporting documents and a $380 filing fee for Form I-766 (EAD). H-4 spouse may begin working in the U.S. upon receiving approval
Although qualifying individuals cannot yet file for EAD, now would be a good time to begin gathering supporting documents. Please contact our office if you have any questions or concerns about your particular case.
 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.