DHS proposed a rule in 2014 that gives EAD to certain H4 Visa holders. It has been effective since May 26th, 2015. In this article, we will look at the basics regarding the H4 EAD rule, how it works, its requirements, latest news, and common FAQs regarding the same.
What is H4 EAD Rule?
H4 EAD rule was originally proposed for H4 holders and was passed in early Feb 2015. As per the official published H4 EAD rule, only certain H4 holders that fall under one of the below categories are eligible for EAD :
- Have an approved I-140, which is the immigration petition for foreign citizens to get Green Card or Permanent Residency in the US.
- 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 the USA beyond 6 years, if their Green Card or Permanent Residency Application is Pending with USCIS.
Requirements to apply for H4 EAD
USCIS has listed that the H4 EAD application should include Evidence of below
- The applicant’s valid H-4 Visa Status, which means valid I-94.
- Government-issued photo ID
- Proof of relationship with H1B holder ( Marriage Certificate )
- The basis for eligibility for the EAD is based on any of the above two criteria, under which you are applying for EAD.
Common FAQs on H4 EAD as per Official Rule :
You can refer USCIS’s official page for the details of evidence they are seeking.
- If you are submitting any documents in local langue other than English, you need to have them translated to English by a certified translator.
- You cannot e-file the form of I-765 for EAD application, at the moment you must send a mail with physical copies of the documents.
- You have three options to file EAD applications based on your situation and eligibility
- Standalone EAD application, if you are already on H4 visa status
- EAD application along with Change or extension of status of H4 visa using I-539 form.
- If you are using above two options, you can use the lock box address at USCIS addresses site
- EAD application along H1B Application using I-129 form, along with Change/ extension of H4 status using I-539 form.
- For this option, you need to file to service center as listed on USCIS site
- Read How to apply for H4 EAD Step by Step Guide
- You cannot work, until you have an approved EAD from USCIS. You need to wait for the approved EAD document before you plan to work.
- The validity of the EAD document will be the same as the validity of your H4 status on your I-94.
- USCIS advises to be careful and avoid fraud and scams that many claim to take money and help. Read USCIS Avoid scams
- There is no cap and this is not a onetime opportunity. You can apply as H4 visa holder anytime, if you are eligible .
- You need to be in US to apply the EAD application as H4 Visa holder
- As H4 visa holder, if your H1B spouse’s I-140 is revoked, you are not eligible for EAD.
- If your H1B Spouse have I-140 approved from previous employer and valid, you can apply for EAD as H4 visa holder. It does not have to be current or same employer.
- If you are on H4 EAD and your spouse’s I-140 is revoked, USCIS can revoke your H4 EAD as well.
- You can work for anyone and anywhere on H4 EAD, including staring your own business and hiring employees as well.
- You can do concurrent filing of EAD and Change/extension of Status
- You can do concurrent filing of New H1B + EAD + Change/ extension of status
- EAD for H4 should be filed as paper-based forms only by sending copies.
- You need to only submit legible copies of the original documents, NO need of originals. If you do send originals, USCIS will not return and they will become part of the file.
- No changes in adjudication process of I-140 due to the new EAD rule, they will remain like before.
- If you are on F1 and working on OPT, you cannot do continuous employment from OPT to H4 EAD. USCIS will first check your H4 status and then process your H4 EAD, so you cannot continue working on OPT and have continuous employment.
- You may travel when your EAD application is filed with USCIS on H4 status, but USCIS recommends not to travel because, if they request for more info and you do not respond, they may issue an RFE or Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID).
- Also, if you are filing concurrent applications with Change of status to H4 and EAD together and if you travel outside of US during processing time, USCIS will deny both the applications as abandoned. So, they recommend not to travel outside of US during the process.
- EAD is only an employment document and NOT visa, you cannot use it to enter or exit the country.
Latest News updates for H4 EAD Rule
- May 3, 2022 : USCIS Extended the 180 days H4 EAD automatic extension rule to 540 Days. This is valid until Oct 27t, 2023. Check the official USCIS Press Release
- Nov 2021 : USCIS based on a lawsuit, had a settlement that gives 180 days automatic extension for H4 EAD Holders. Check H4 EAD 180 days automatic extension Settlement Summary
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
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