H-4 EAD: Get the facts

Beginning May 26, 2015 certain individuals in H-4 status will be able to apply for employment authorization. I have been hearing a lot of misinformation regarding this new change, even including employers petitioning for change of status from H-1B to H-4 for an employee. Please note these true facts:

Who Is Eligible: H-4 is a status given to dependents (spouses and children) of someone who is maintaining H-1B status. In order to be eligible for an employment authorization document as an H4, you must be the spouse of someone in H1B status, and that spouse must be the principal beneficiary of an approved I-140 petition for permanent residence.

The American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000, as modified, allows H-1B non-immigrants who are in the process of obtaining lawful permanent residence to extend their H-1B visas beyond the 6 year limit under certain circumstances. In the meantime, however, their spouses were stuck unable to work or pursue their own careers. Finally, now those spouses will be able to create or resume their careers.

Note that you do not petition for a change of status. All you are doing is applying for employment authorization based on the H-4 status you have. If you can show you qualify, it is a straight-forward process.

Finally, note that no one may file an application for this benefit prior to May 26, 2015.

If you have other questions, or would like to review your personal situation, please do not hesitate to contact us.