H4 Visa EAD FAQs – Start Company, Work at Multiple Employers, Apply in India

H4 Visa EAD FAQs – Start Company, Work at Multiple Employers, Apply in India ?

In H4 Visa by KumarUpdated : 133 Comments

by Emily Neumann, Attorney at Law

This is part 3 of our  FAQ series of the H4 Visa EAD rule was passed by DHS with effective date of May 26, 2015. You can check out the second part of H4 EAD FAQs –Part 2 – I-140 Change Employers, L1B, CPT, written by Emily, who is a highly qualified immigration attorney practicing only immigration law for over 10 years. Thanks a lot to Emily for her time and effort to help our readers.

Can a H4 visa holder with EAD open a business or start company ? 

A: Yes, the EAD for H-4 holders is not restricted to any particular type of employment. It can be full-time, part-time, multiple employers, short-term multiple employers, independent contractor (i.e. 1099), self-employed business owner, employment through a staffing agency, paid, unpaid internship, or not working at all.

What will happen if in case my spouse, who is on H1B, loses his job? Being the H1B primary, will the H4 EAD be automatically invalidated?

A: I think the short answer is probably yes. In general, if an H-1B holder loses a job and falls out of status, the H-4 holder would also go out of status. It really will depend on the specific circumstances of the H-1B holder’s situation and a qualified immigration attorney should be contacted if this situation arises.

If we can start a business on H4 EAD, can the H4 visa EAD holder start the business with the receipt number or they have to wait till approval?

A: The EAD card is not like an H-1B transfer in which you can work based on the receipt in certain circumstances. Instead, you must actually have the card in your hand before you are eligible to work, even if it is for your own business.

Is there any premium processing for H4 visa EAD Application? If so, how many days will it take?

A: There is no premium processing for the H-4 application itself or for the EAD application. EADs typically take 90 days. In certain emergency situations, it may be possible to expedite a pending EAD application, but expedites are usually limited.

Can H4 Visa holder under new EAD work for multiple employers? 

A: Yes, the EAD for H4 visa holders is not restricted to any particular type of employment. It can be full-time, part-time, multiple employers, short-term multiple employers, independent contractor (i.e. 1099), self-employed business owner, employment through a staffing agency, paid, unpaid internship, or not working at all.

Can the EAD holder on H4 visa status work for an employer and do or own business together at the same time?

A: Yes, H-4 status EAD holder can do both working for an employer and doing business at the same time.

Is this H4 EAD application can be submitted by an individual without any attorney? If so is online submitting the EAD application is possible?

A: Any immigration application can be submitted without the assistance of an attorney. The bigger question is whether it should be submitted without the assistance of an attorney. An application filed by an attorney does not get any special treatment, but an attorney will generally be able to ensure that the application is properly filed to the right address with all of the necessary documents. This can minimize delays in obtaining the approval.

E-filing is available for the I-765 form; however, the H-4 EAD is not yet listed as one of the eligible categories for e-filing. Check this website to confirm before attempting to e-file:http://www.uscis.gov/e-filing-i-765. As a side note, in general, I prefer paper filing for 99.99% of all applications I handle. Perhaps as the myUSCIS online tool is rolled out, online filing may become a more hassle-free process. For now, I will stick with paper.

When COS from H1B to H-4 status and EAD, will the H1B status be lost on approval of H4 or after approval of both H4 and EAD? Just in case, my H-4 COS is denied, what is my option?

A: The change of status to H-4 takes effect on the day of H-4 approval. Therefore, the H-1B status is lost when the H-4 is approved. What this means is that there is a potential that the H-4 will be approved and the EAD may be delayed. This would cause an individual in H-1B status to potentially be changed to H-4 without an EAD and unable to work until the EAD card is eventually issued.

The second part of the question related to a possible denial of the H-4 change of status is too case-specific to address here. In general, a properly filed application to change status to H-4 is unlikely to be denied unless either the main H-1B holder is out of status or the H-4 applicant is out of status. If this occurs, a qualified immigration attorney should be contacted to discuss the options in the event that an H-4 change of status is denied.

If I do COS from H1B to H4 to avail EAD benefit as my primary H1B holder has approved I-140, would I be H1B cap exempt, if I plan to switch back to H1B from H4 in future?

A: Yes, an individual who has been working in H-1B status and then changes status to H-4 can change status back to H-1B at a later time without being subject to the cap since he or she has been previously counted under the cap.

My H1B spouse has I-140 approved. If applying from India for H-4 for the first time, could I apply H4 visa and EAD together? Or should I get the H4 visa first, then come to US with that visa and then from US only I will be eligible to apply for EAD?

A: Unfortunately no. The EAD application requires you to submit your H4 status I-94 card, which you will only receive upon entry to the U.S. on the H4 visa. So, when considering job opportunities in the U.S., keep in mind that it will take about 90 days after your entry for you to be eligible to work.

Can we apply for Advance Parole (AP) to get travel clearance on the H4 visa EAD? 

 A: Unfortunately no. This particular EAD is not the same as the EAD that an individual receives based on a pending I-485. A pending I-485 makes an individual eligible for Advance Parole and that endorsement is usually included on the EAD card. The H-4 EAD does not have a provision for applying for Advance Parole. If you intend to travel, you will need a valid H-4 visa stamp in order to return to the U.S.

Do you have any more questions that you are not clear ? Add your questions, thoughts as comment.

Stay tuned on the blog, we have the next article coming up with much more questions on H4 Visa EAD…

Thanks again to Emily for kindly helping us answer the third set of questions and writing for us. Immigration can be complex, if you need help with your H4 EAD application, please reach out to her by using her contact info , she is a highly qualified immigration attorney and can help you with your case !

————————————-About the Author————————————–

Emily Neumann practices business immigration law and is a partner in Reddy & Neumann, P.C. in Houston, TX. Neumann writes a blog on immigration law (immigrationgirl.com) and shares updates on Twitter (@immigrationgirl) and her Facebook page to help her clients stay informed of the latest news.



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Comments ( 133 )

  1. Raj

    My wife started working in Indian grocery store with her H4 EAD. Grocery store doesnt provided any offer letter, but they do give biweekly checks in terms of salary. My question is there any problem when she goes for visa stamping or filling DS160 ? or if Visa officer asks for her employment letters(she only have paychecks and they may give W2 end of the year) Appreciated your help

    1. administrator

      Are there salary slips given or just payment checks ? They need to give W2, if paying taxes…Try to get as much documentation as you can from them so that the employment is captured in some format. So, if Visa officer asks, then you can share the same.

  2. Raja

    My wife is on H4-EAD. She was doing baby sitting for 2 kids. There is no registered company on her name. We have Visa extension due this July. On I-539 they are asking about her employment and documents about that. Can we just say SELF EMPLOYMENT and not submit any documents

  3. Raja

    Is H4 ead candidates can work in these type of websites
    for eg:-https://www.rev.com/freelancers/captions

  4. Manasa

    My spouse has H4 stamping with company B. I have changed H1 to company A and i Have I140 with company A. My spouse entered US after i changed to Company A by showing my A H1 documents. To apply H4 EAD, do i need to file H4 with company A for my spouse first ? Can we do both concurrently? Thank you for your answer

    1. administrator

      As she has already entered using your current company details at POE, there is no need to again file for H4. He status is H4 and tied to your current company. You can check your current company A’s attorney and get clarified to be safe. You can directly apply for H4 EAD using current company details as she is on H4 status already.

  5. Arish

    My wife’s H1B is nearing its end of term and she might need to get her status changed to H4 and then we’ll file an EAD for her.
    1- Does she need to travel out of country for some period, if she wants to file a new H1B ?
    2- can we file a fresh H1b right after her current one expires( provided it’s the application filing time of the year)

  6. Meenal Gandhi


    I have an approved H4 EAD and my question is very simple and would appreciate if someone can answer that. Can i start a side business as well as work for an employer simultaneously on H4 EAD?

  7. Karthick


    Can I get some clarification on the below? I have my I-140 pending with USCIS and expecting an update in next couple of weeks (getting processed in Premium mode). Once my I-140 is approved I would like to initiate H4 EAD for my Spouse who is currently in US in H4 (current stamped H4 visa is expired and got the extension approved and valid till Nov 2019). However, due to mandated personal reason she has to travel outside of US next week. Question I have is,

    1) Can she travel Outside of US once the H4 EAD application is submitted to USCIS and is in progress (assuming my I-140 is approved before her travel)?

    2) Just in case if my I-140 is not approved before her travel, can she sign the I-765 form before leaving US so that I can submit the application while she is Outside of US?

  8. Vivek J

    Hi ,

    I looking job in united States .now
    I got one opportunity but they are asking me for Employment Authorization Document .please say me where I can get it and what is the procedure?

  9. Tejesvi R

    I have my I140 approved by Employer A and due to my project completion my employer is letting me find my own way or go back to India and come back once i get another project. i have Employer B where my interview is cleared and now waiting for my background checks.

    My spouse EAD is already approved, what happens if Employer B files my H1B transfer petition after my current employment with Employer A has ended. there might be a delay of 1-2 weeks since they need to complete background checks and than post my LCA. My employment most probably ends during the LCA posting period.

    Please suggest the options.

  10. Ashish


    I wanted to know If I am a green card holder or mid in a green card process , if any casualty happens to me in that case my wife would be consider as green card holder or us resident or not ?


  11. Astha

    I wanted to know that if i have h4 ead card, can i apply for green card?
    Do I need to apply H1 B visa at the first level ?

    Thanks in advance !!!

  12. Sam

    Very informative article. Appreciate your efforts in putting the FAQs.
    Here is my question:
    My spouse recently got H4 EAD, she had H1 and H1 is still valid (or i guess not valid). She wants to notify her H1 employer, about the COS & EAD. How does she approach the employer & what her options (if she decides to be independent contractor), considering its typical desi employer.
    Appreciate your response.


  13. VenKat

    I was with employer A for 7 years, got 2 H1B extension and also have an approved I-140. I moved to company B and then applied for my spouse’s H4 EAD (I submitted a copy of I-140 and four I-797s, three of Company A and 1 of Company B)

    Now we have the EAD card in hand, but I am moving to Company C and we both got new H1B and H4 I797s, Do we need to file any form/amendment to let USCIS know about my spouse’s new H4 I-797 or can she continue to work on her EAD ?

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