After a very long wait, the H4 Visa EAD rule that was announced by DHS in 2014 came to life effective from May 26, 2015. USCIS Director León Rodríguez announced that Department of Homeland Security (DHS) completed the process of H4 Visa EAD rule and extending the employment authorization eligibility for certain H4 visa holders, who are in the journey of Green Card or PERM process. Below is the summary of the official press release by USCIS and the process on how and when to apply for the EAD card for H4 visa holder, including documents, next steps.
Summary of H4 Visa EAD Rule from Official Press Release by USCIS
- DHS is extending the employment authorization to work in US for certain H4 Visa holders, who fall under one of the below two categories:
- Have an approved I-140, which is the immigration petition for foreign citizens to get Green Card or Permanent Residency in USA.
- Have H1B visa status extended for the spouse beyond 6 years under AC21 Act, which allows H1B holders seeking Green Card to work and stay in USA beyond 6 years, if their Green Card or Permanent Residency Application is Pending.
- DHS expects that this new rule will help many of families from their economic burdens and personal stress during their transition period from non-immigrant to permanent residents or green card holders.
- This new rule will give eligibility for about 179,600 H4 visa holders in the first year and then estimated 55,000 annually from next year.
- USCIS expects that this rule will help US businesses from disruptions and to retain high skilled workers by providing more options for their spouses to work during their transition from non-immigrant to permanent residents or green card holders in USA.
How to Apply for EAD for H4 Visa holder under this new rule ? What is the process?
It is pretty straight forward. All the H4 Visa holders, who qualify for this need to do is :
- File form I-765 with USCIS, which is the Application for Employment Authorization along with supporting documentation and respective fee. USCIS will have the most updated form.
What is the Fee for EAD Application for H4 Visa holders? Whom to Pay to ?
It is $410 USD. You need to include the required fee of $410 USD along with your I-765 Form and supporting documentation. ( Update : Fee used to be $380 USD and the fee has been increased from 380 to 410 effective December 23, 2016. Check : https://www.uscis.gov/forms/our-fees )
- You can submit a check or money order that is drawn on a bank that is located in USA and payable in USD.
- The check or money order should be payable to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security”. DO NOT use short forms like DHS or USDHS.
What are the documents required for EAD Application for H4 Visa holders?
All you need to is to provide supporting evidence to prove that you are eligible for this EAD under the newly passed rule. Typical documents that can be included to prove your eligibility are like below.
- Marriage certificate that proves that H4 visa holder is spouse of H1B Visa holder
- H4 visa holder’s I-94 copy, which can be printed from DHS CBP website , indicating your current status in USA
- H4 Spouse’s Approved H1B Visa Approval notice copy
- Approved I-140 Copy or Approved copy of H1B Visa under AC21
- I-94 Copy of the Spouse, who is on H1B Visa
- Copies of Passport of H4 visa holder and H1 visa holder.
- Two copies of color passport photos of dimensions two by two inches. Typically with white background, this will be used for card production.
- Government issued Identification documents of H4 visa holder like Birth Certificate with Photo ID, National identity card from your home country like Voter cards, Aadhar Card ( for Indians), Driving License, Any Visas from other consulates, Biometric page of your passport. It should be fine to attach more proofs.
- Any other documents that were part of the PERM or Green Card process.
There is not a definite list of documents suggested or required by USCIS as per the press release, USCIS says to attach evidence for the eligibility and status. The above are indicatory and typical set. USCIS recently published a list on their official page, we will write up a detail how to guide soon. Stay tuned.
When can H-4 Visa holders file the EAD Application with USCIS?
USCIS started accepting applications from May 26, 2015. You can submit it anytime as there are no current restrictions.
What happens after H4 Visa holder files the EAD application with USCIS?
USCIS will review the I-765 form and adjudicate your case by reviewing the supporting documentation for eligibility. If your I-765 form is approved by USCIS, the respective H4 visa dependent spouse will receive EAD (Employment Authorization Document), which is Form I-766.
When can you start working on EAD for H4 visa holders?
The H4 Visa holder can start working only after their I-765 form is approved by USCIS and they receive the EAD, which is Form I-766.
As there are many questions asked by our readers, Immigration Attorney Emily wrote a series of articles answering the same, check out the first article : H4 Visa EAD FAQs – F1 to H4 COS, H1B to H4 COS, I-140 Revoked
Official USCIS Steps and Process Published:
USCIS Updated and published the guidance and how to apply, including the most commonly asked FAQs. Check out the key highlights and important points of the publication from USCIS at Summary of Guide to Apply EAD for H4 Holders, FAQs by USCIS
If you are filing H4 EAD, we’ve built a tracker for your case to help you and everyone get overall insights from others. It is fully anonymous and has analytics. Please add your case to H4 Visa EAD Tracker
What are your thoughts on the final rule passing by DHS ?
Any thoughts to add ? Any questions ? Share your thoughts.
- Official USCIS: DHS Extends Eligibility for Employment Authorization for Certain H-4 Spouses
- Official rule : H4 EAD rule in Federal Register