H4 EAD Work Process and How to apply

How to Apply for H4 Visa EAD ? Process, Guide ?

In Immigration| Visas by KumarUpdated : 215 Comments

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:
    1. Have an approved I-140, which is the immigration petition for foreign citizens to get Green Card or Permanent Residency in USA.
    2. 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.

Reference :


Other Articles

Comments ( 215 )

  1. Vamsi

    Hi Redbus Team,
    I am on H1b and planning to apply H4 EAD for my wife[ My I 140 is approved] & my I 140 shows that i have eligibility to work until Dec 8th 2018.
    Do i need to apply Form I 539 along with Form I-765 for H4 EAD authorization ?

    Or Just Form I-765 is enough? If i apply Form I 539 does she get extension for more time beyond December 2018 ?

    Please clarify.

  2. Caribbeanqueen

    Good. Evening
    My case is 208 days old. I called USIC but there seem to be nothing they can do.
    What do you suggest?

    1. administrator

      Well, if they say so, you need to wait. I am assuming, it is your H4 EAD petition. Alternatively, you can try to visit a field office of USCIS to seek more advice, worth a shot.

  3. Abhi

    Hello All, Firstly, this page has been very helpful. Thanks much for that.
    I have a question about my wife’s application. She moved from H1 to H4 (H4 approved last week) and I had a question about question (11) Have you ever before applied for employment authorization from USCIS? This is her first EAD but she has worked on H1 B visa before. Should I say Yes or No for this question?

  4. Priya

    I am in the process of applying for H4 EAD.
    As per the list of documents required for H4 EAD filing in I765 filing instructions can someone clarify what the following documents would be:
    A copy of the biometric page of your passport;
    A birth certificate with photo ID;
    A visa issued by a foreign consulate; or
    A national identity document with photo.

    Do we need to submit all the documents mentioned above or any one doument will be fine. Also I want to know whether 10th and 12th standards marksheets issued in India can be considered as a valid birth certificate with photo ID?

    1. Niveditha

      Hi Malini,

      Is your husband got his green card or just H1B visa approved? Only with a greeen card, their spouses can apply for a H4 EAD?

      1. administrator

        Spouses can apply for H-4 EAD if:
        1. H-1B spouse has I-140 approved, or
        2. H-1B spouse is making use of 7th year of H-1B (possible when one has completed 6 years on H-1B and has pending PERM or I-140 application).

  5. rajani


    We are currently in India. My husband H1 B is approved and as soon we get Visa stamped will move to US (may be by this year end). I am working from home in india. When can I apply for EAD , so that I can continue working from home in indian company from US.


    1. Sach

      Your husband needs to apply for green card and when the I-140(the process takes roughly 8-24 months) is approved then only you can apply for H4 EAD, before that there is no legal way to work in US.

  6. Tarun

    I need to know can we file the H4 EAD with future dated H4 Approval Notice . This means as of now i am on L1 B Visa till End of August & i had filed effective date of H4 Approval Notice is 1 September in H4 Application. So in this case as i am planning to file the Premium processing with my spouse H1 B Visa Extension , i will getting my H4 Approval by first or second week of August .

    My question is that can i file my H4 EAD in August even though my H4 Approval Notice effective from 1 September.

  7. Ram

    I see that one of the required document to submit for H4 EID is a Government Issued document with Photo. Unfortunately, my wife does not have a Adhar Card or DL from India. Would her passport copy be sufficient for this?

    Please advise.

    1. Abc

      I believe any document that has a birth date stated that matches your passport should be sufficient. Ex. Nationality certificate, birth certificate, School leaving certificate etc.

  8. Soumya

    I got a confirmation letter from USCIS that my documents has been received by them but there’s no tracking number on that letter to check the status of my EAD Application. Has anyone received any letter from USCIS??

  9. Swetha


    I’ve filed for H4 EAD application on June 28th 2015 but haven’t received any acknowledgement yet.

    My husband’s H1 starts with EAC and so will have to send to the Dallas Lockbox facility. Since I sent through UPS (2nd day delivery) which comes under Express/Courier mail: I sent it to
    USCIS Attn: H4
    2501 S. State Hwy. 121
    Business Suite 400
    Lewisville, TX 75067

    The UPS shows it’s received and signed by someone. But it also states that it was placed at the Dock. I’m apprehensive if USCIS has really received my application or not.

    Please advise what can be done.

    1. Wal

      Did you fill the G-1145 acceptance form? It basically lets u know through sms and email that your form has been received and gone to California (in case of mine) for processing. This took about a week and half to get back to me. They also sent a notice of receipt by post. Plus you would know I they withdrew the money from your account. Wait a few more days and then call the customer support I guess.

    2. Abc

      You must have received a text message and /or email with the case # on the cellphone number if you had filled up g-1145 form along with the 765. If not wait for 30 days from the date it was delivered on, if you still do not get the receipt call CS at 800 375 5283. Hope this helps.

    3. administrator

      Dont worry too much. If it was received and signed by someone, thats good enough. I can imagine your concern, it will all be fine, just give it some time.

  10. Sanathan

    Hi Kumar,

    Can you please help me with one of the field that is in EAD Application.

    I am concurrently filing Change of Status and EAD for my wife who is in H1 Status.
    While filing the i-765 EAD Application, i came across a field “Current Immigration Status”

    While posting my application to USCIS my Wife’s is in a H1 Status, but this EAD is only applicable for H4’s.
    As we ate concurrently filing, i am confused if i have to put h1 or h4.

    can you kindly help.


  11. shalini


    I have submitted my application just two days ago. But I have missed attaching one of my document. Is there any way I can resend that document once I receive my reciept using that reciept number as my case number?

  12. Jay

    I had the same question as Ramesh. My wife is currently in India. Can I apply on her behalf. There is a place on I-765 that suggests it can be done, but I wanted to be sure. I’d really appreciate if anyone knew the answer to this.


    1. administrator

      Jay, You cannot apply for her, when she is in India. She has to be in H-4 status and in USA, I-94 is the key that tell her current valid status. USCIS clarified in their FAQs as well.

  13. Ramesh

    Should the personnel for whom we are applying EAD be present in United states or can we fill and submit I-765 form if they are in India as well ?

    1. xplosion79


      Do I need to be in the United States to apply for employment authorization based on my H-4 status?

      Yes, you must be in the United States to apply for employment authorization. You must be in H-4 status to be eligible for employment authorization, and an individual outside of the United States cannot be in H-4 status.

  14. h4apply

    I heard people said the processing time should be at least 6 months due to high volume applications, is that correct? Does USCIS announce that?

  15. Vinod


    I am in the process of applying my wife’s H4 EAD but simultaneously I have been asked by my Company to apply for my H1-B amendment as per the new rule passed by USCIS on April 9 due to my job location change recently.

    Is it advisable to apply both my H1B amendment and my wife’s H4 EAD simultaneously or should I wait till my amendment gets approved or are they even related.


    1. administrator

      Priya, it can take at least couple of weeks or more since you mailed your application to get the receipt number. Due to high volume of applications, it may take longer now..

  16. Prashant Shah

    Any recent photo’s required for H4 to EAD with form I-765?
    where to send form and all supporting documents? Any address for filed service office. My is Texas office as per my last all renewal.

    1. administrator

      Yes, you need to send two copies of color photos passport photo style with white background two by two inches along with application.
      If you are filing only H4 EAD as standalone, the filing addresses are here : http://www.uscis.gov/i-765-addresses

  17. Prashant Shah

    I don’t under stand Question : 16 to 18.
    16: Eligibility category . Go to the, who may file form I-765 and those for Example (a)(8) etc and than ( ) ( ) ( ), what should I write or who filed what you guys mentioned?

    17: (c)(3)(C)Eligibility category? what is the answer?

    18: (c)(26) Eligibility category ? again what is the Answer?

    and this application should be for Permission to accept employments correct?

    please answer 16, 17, 18 if possible.
    Prashant Shah

    1. administrator

      For 16, it will be category (c)(26) . It is given in the instructions. You can leave the first () blank.
      For 17 – leave it blank, as it is not applicable to you.
      For 18, you need to enter the receipt number of the H4 Spouse’s H1B I-797 approval form, it should be the latest approval notice receipt number.

      All this information is in I-765 instructions, just review them.

    1. administrator

      It is described above and should be “U.S. Department of Homeland Security” . No short forms, you should use the full name.

  18. rohit

    How about question 18 , which receipt number should i write? i have two receipt one is H1B approval and other is i-140 Approval .

  19. rej

    How can I check the status of my h4 ead application? I can see we need to enter the receipt number to check status. what receipt number we need to use?

    1. administrator

      After you file your application, you will get a receipt number from USCIS to track the status of your application. That can be used to check the status online on USCIS website.

  20. Ashu

    Hi..there is a question in ead form that do u have earlier employment authorization from uscis??
    Actually i hve previously h1 visa bt no job so then we make a conversion to h4..so my current status is h4..so what should i do of that question should i say yes/no to that question???

    1. xplosion79

      I think h1 is mot emp auth (EAD).

      Im my case, my wife was on L2 and she had EAD which i mentioned in this section. But plz consult attorney for assured answer.

    2. bree

      Did you get the answer to your question. i am also in same boat. previously worked on OPT then got my H1b approved but i never worked on H1b i was on personal leave and then switched back to H4.

    3. Kumar

      Hi..did you get answer to the question 11 : My Wife was on H1 status for some time and moved back to H4 status.
      Please let me know

  21. Krishma

    Is there any end time for filing the h4-ead? I am planning to go to India and apply when I return in the second week of june.

    1. Anil

      No, there is no end time. You can apply anytime you wish.
      At this time, there is a rush simply because this is the first time they have opened up the H4-EAD gates.

  22. Reena

    Please do let us know the postal address to where the form and required documents need to be posted for your H4 EAD approval.


    1. val

      all that will be updated on the Uscis website. you will have to look at the instructions. All the information will be there post MAy 26th.

  23. Reena

    Good Morning,

    Has the new I 765 been published?
    For the old one I not able to answer question 16? No details about H-1 spouse EAD has been updated.

    Thanks in advance.

  24. rimpys

    Hi, thanks for clarifying our doubts. My husbandis waiting for hq extenstion which was filed on april 13 and his h1 is expir o ng on may 22. Can i file h4 ead. As i understand that there is very less chance to get his h1 approal by 26th may but wit EAC# it is showing that his h1 extension is in process. Thaks again



    In the form I-765 there is one question

    13. Place of Last entry into the US

    Now, as of some of us might know that those who have transit in Abu Dhabi airport get their immigration process completed there itself. My arrival record on DHS site also shows that my “Port of Entry/Exit” as “MAA – ABU DHABI INTL”. However, in US I arrived at Washington International airport.

    I am confused as to what should I write the answer for this question.

    please guide

          1. Godiswithus

            Port is nothing but a place where you enter to land or depart from the land. Like how Harbor port is for Ship. So here, to the US land which port did you enter through? So obviously the airport you landed in US not the connecting flight airport. Hope this helps.

  26. Ankur Gupta


    Could you please answer the below questions regarding the new rule about spouses of approved I-140 holder getting EAD to work in US. My employer has filed for my PERM under EB2 category and I am hoping to get I-140 approved by October 2015.

    a) Say I get my I-140 approved through Company A but I do not complete 180 days stay post I-140 approval with company A (say switch to a new employer), will my spouse be still eligible to get an EAD/continue to work on EAD if company A does not revoke my I-140 after I leave?

    b) Say I get my I-140 approved through Company A and switch to Company B after do completing 180 days stay with Company A post I-140 approval; will there be any impact on my spouses’ ability to get an EAD/ continue to work on EAD in case company A revokes my I-140? I think after 180 days of I-140 approval, new employer does not need to do PERM or file I-140 again, so the I-140 through company A should be good to support EAD – correct?

    c) How long is it expected to take for the EAD application to get approved? Internet says 3 months but just checking if you have better information.

    d) Can my spouse switch jobs on EAD?

    e) Say she is on EAD working for an employer, can her employer apply for her H1B? Is there any constraint on applying to H1B if she is on EAD?



  27. Shruti

    I am on H4 visa with an approved I-140. However, I am not sure which category do I fit in for applying for my EAD. I need to mention this category on Form I-765. Can you please confirm the category for me?

    1. Vijay

      Hi Shruti,

      Check out the updated I-765 instruction set here, http://reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewIC?ref_nbr=201502-1615-004&icID=20321

      I believe it is (c) (26)

        1. Vijay

          Here is the latest update,


          It looks like the links on this page have not been updated yet, but at least they are in process of publishing the whole process.

      1. ABC

        you could go through the entire Instruction PDF in the time you spent on typing the question here. Jeezzz people are so freaking lazy…

Leave a Comment

Comments Policy :
  • Comments are to drive conversation, add your thoughts, experiences, ask questions!
  • Do NOT write hate speech, swear words, or get into fight. Maintain etiquette
  • Enter your Name, valid Email, URL(optional - Facebook, LinkedIn profile URLs).
  • Your email will NOT be published. Do NOT post any phone numbers, email-ids
  • Do NOT post any links from other websites, unless official sites, University websites.
  • By submitting your comment, you agree to Term and Conditions of our website.