H4 EAD Work Process and How to apply

How to Apply for H4 EAD ? New, Renewal ? Biometrics? [2020]

In H4 Visa by KumarUpdated : 289 Comments

In general, H4 holders, who are spouses of H1B visa holders, cannot work in US. But that changed with H4 Visa EAD rule that was effective from May 26, 2015. EAD stands for Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and H4 EAD essentially gives H4 holders the ability to work in US, if they qualify for EAD based on certain conditions. We will look at the requirements for H4 EAD, step by step process, new guidelines on biometrics from 2019 in this article.

H4 EAD Requirements – Who can apply for it ?

DHS gives employment authorization (EAD) to work in US for certain H4 Visa holders, whose spouse on H1B have satisfies one of the below two :

  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.

As of today, you can file for H4 EAD, if you satisfy any of the above two conditions. But, this could change in the future as there is a lawsuit going on to remove H4 EAD along with DHS having a rulemaking in process to remove H4 EAD.  Check H4 EAD Rule Removal – Lawsuit, Court Updates 

Documents Checklist for H4 EAD

You need the below documents and information with you, to file H4 EAD with USCIS.

  • H4 EAD Fee : H4 EAD Application Fee check for $410 payable to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security”.  You can also money order, personal check or cashier’s check to pay for the fee. If you are filing at USCIS Lockbox facility, you can use credit as well using the form G-1450 authorizing the credit card transactions. No short forms like USCIS are allowed on check, you need to put in full name of USCIS as specified.
  • EAD Application form:  Completed form I-765, which is the application for Employment Authorization.
  • (Optional)  e-Notification form : If you want to get electronic notifications for your application, you can use form G-1145. You can use this facility only, if you are filing your application at an USCIS Lockbox Facility.
  • Copies of H4 Visa holder’s Govt. issued Photo Identity : Not all of the below are required, you can submit one or more.
    • Copy of H4 visa holder’s passport ( Front, Back )
    • Copy of H4 Visa Stamp page from passport ( if available)
    • (optional) Copy of Birth Certificate with photo in it.
    • If you are applying for H4 Renewal, your previous EAD Card copy front and back.
    • National identity card from your home country like Voter cards, Aadhar Card ( for Indians)
  • Current H4 Visa Status Proofs
    • Copy of the most recent I-797A approval form, which is the H4 Approval Notice from USCIS. If you do not have copy of H4 approval, because you took direct H4 stamping and entered US, then you submit only the I-94 copy used to enter US, which can be printed online.
    • Copy of I-94 card or electronic copy. Read How to check and Print I-94 Online on DHS Website
  • H4 EAD Eligibility Documents : You need to submit H4 EAD eligibility documents of your spouse such as below.
    • Copy of primary H1B Holder’s I-140  I-797 Approval Notice
    • If your employer has not shared this document, you can use USCIS FOIA to request your I-140 information and attach the same with the H4 EAD application.
    • OR Approved copy of H1B Visa beyond 6 Years under AC21.
  • H4 – H1B Relationship Documents : 
    • You need to submit marriage certificate to prove the relationship with H1B Holder. If it is not in English, you need to get it translated to English by certified translator.
  • H1B Spouse Documents : You can submit below additional H1B spouse’s documents as supporting information
    • Copy of my H1B holders passport
  • Photos : 2 color passport photos ( 2×2 inches passport photos ) taken in the last 30 days. You should write your Name, I-94 number on the back of the photo for identification purposes. If pen does not work, use a pencil.
  • Additional Supporting Documents : 
    • Copy of my ITIN number ( Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) of H4 Holder.

Translation of Submitted Documents for H4 EAD :

If you submit any documents like Birth Certificate or National ID as Government issued photo ID or marriage certificate in a foreign language ( other than English), then you need to submit full English translation along with the translator’s certification that says that the translation is complete and accurate.

Process to Apply for H4 EAD

If you qualify for H4 EAD, you need to follow the below process. All the H4 Visa holders, who qualify for this need to do is :

Step 1 : Complete form I-765  – Application for Employment Authorization

You should download the latest form I-765 from USCIS website, along with its instructions, complete the form. Below are some common application completion tips by section of the application:

  • Part 1. Reason for Applying :
    •  : Question 1: If you are applying for new application for EAD, you would select 1.a., if you are applying for renewal of H4 EAD, you would select the corresponding box 1.c. Check below screenshots. If you have lost the EAD card, then you select 1.b.
    • H4 EAD New Application i-765 - Question 1 - Reason for ApplyingH4 EAD Renewal Application i-765 - Question 1 - Reason for Applying
  • Part 2 : Information about you
    • Question 2  : If you have other names like different name before marriage or you had different spellings or anything, you should mention it here.
    • Question 8 : Usually most of the H4 EAD applicants do not have an Alien Registration number, just leave it blank.
    • Question 9  – USCIS Online Account Number for H4 EAD : If you were to file any petition electronically with USCIS in the past using their USCIS online filing system or USCIS ELIS, you would enter that number. You can find it on top of your profile page once you login to USCIS system. In general, for most of the H4 EAD applicants, they would NOT have an USCIS online account number, so just leave it blank.
    • Question 13. a : Usually you would have Social Security Number (SSN), if you were to work in US. If you have had SSN as a student in the past, or on H1B before H4 or for some other reason, you should select Yes here and enter the number in 13.b. In general for most of the H4 applicants, this would be No.
    • Question 14 : If you never had SSN and want to get one, you should select Yes here. For most of the H4 holders, this would be Yes. It is highly recommended to apply for SSN along with your H4 EAD application because, it will help you start work right away after you get your EAD. You need SSN for taxes and other purposes from employer side.
    • Question 15 : If you selected Yes for 14, then you select Yes here for USCIS to share data with SSA Office. It is important to do this.
    • Question 16, 17 : You need to fill in H4 holder’s Father and Mother’s names here, if you have checked Yes in Question 14. SSA needs your .
  • Part 2 : Information about your Last Arrival in US
    • Question 21 a  : You need to enter your I-94 number here, you can get I-94 Online on DHS website.  If you have had H4 status extended within US, then you would have it attached to your H4 approval copy of I797.
    • Question 24 : This is the Visa status that you used, when you arrived in US, specifically  that was tied to your most recent arrival into US. It varies by individual as some arrive on H4, some arrive on F1, some on H1B, etc. So, you need to make sure you enter your status accordingly. This may have changed for some after arrival. e.g : F-1 student, H-4 dependent, H-1B, etc.
    • Question 25 : This is your current visa status in US, again, for most, if may be H4, but for some they may be applying for H4 COS and also  EAD together, in that case you need to enter your current visa status.  e.g : H-4 dependent, F-1 student, etc.
  •  Part 2 : Information about your Eligibility Category
    • Question 27 : You need to enter the category of eligibility for H-4 holders based on the I-765 instructions. It is (C)(26) for H4 Holders, see below on how to fill. You leave the last parenthesis empty as it is for the sub section field.C26 filling out for question 27 answer on H4 EADHere is the reference from I-765 Instructions that says it should be (c)(26)H4 EAD Renewal Application i-765 - Question 27 - Eligibility Criteria C26
    • Question 29 – (c)(26) Eligibility Category – H1B Holder Receipt Number : You will need to enter your spouse’s (H1B holder’s) receipt number from form I-797. It looks like  EACXXXX, WACXXX.  It has to be your H1B spouse’s most recent I-797 receipt number. If you are filing H1B Extension and H4 EAD together, it will be the most recent or current approved H1B receipt number.
      • It is NOT the I-140 approval receipt number, so do not be confused.
      • Do NOT enter H4 holder’s receipt number as well.
  • Part 3 : Applicant’s Statement
    • Question 1.a. : You need to check 1.a here indicating you understand English.
    • Question 7.a : What color Pen to use to Sign USCIS H4 EAD Form ?
      • You need to sign in the box at 7.a and enter date in 7.b question. You need to use Black Ink color pen to sign the form as suggested by USCIS in their form filling tips .

Step 2 :  Package your H4 EAD Application with Supporting Documents

Once you have completed filling out the I-765 application form, you need to gather all the documents, as listed in our above documents checklist, and put them together in a package in certain order as suggested by USCIS ( first one to be on the top). Submit only copies, do NOT send originals.

  • Check or money order ( on the top)
  • Form G-1145 for e-notification ( under the check/ money order)
  • Form G-28, if attorney is filing (under the e-notification form)
  • Form I-765 application form completed and signed ( under the G-28 form or G-1145, if you are filing it yourself )
  • Supporting Documentation from the checklist ( under the completed  I-765 application form)

Do NOT use any heavy staples to put them together. USCIS recommends that you use paper clips or binder clips.  You can check USCIS form filling tips for complete guidance on how to create your application package and guidance on the same.

Step 3 : Send / Mail H4 EAD Application to correct USCIS Address

Once you have created the application package, you need to mail or post it to the correct USCIS location. The address to send  based on your Spouse’s H1B receipt number as listed below. You should check USCIS address for I-765 and look under (c)(26) to see verify, if below details have changed to be sure.

 H1B Spouse’s Receipt Number

 Address to Mail or send Post for H4 EAD

If the H1B Spouse’s  most recent Form I-797, Notice of Approval begins with EAC or LINUSCIS Dallas Lockbox
For U.S. Postal Service (USPS):
Attn: H4
P.O. Box 660921
Dallas, TX 75266For FedEx, UPS, and DHL deliveries:
Attn: H4
2501 S. State Hwy. 121 Business
Suite 400
Lewisville, TX 75067
If the H1B Spouse’s  most recent Form I-797, Notice of Approval begins with WACUSCIS Phoenix Lockbox
For U.S. Postal Service (USPS):
Attn: H4
P.O. Box 20400
Phoenix, AZ 85036For FedEx, UPS, and DHL deliveries:
Attn: H4
1820 E. Skyharbor Circle S
Suite 100
Phoenix, AZ 85034

Step 4 : Get Receipt of H4 EAD, USCIS Processing, Received EAD Card

H4 EAD Card Sample Document

Once you send your package to USCIS, you will get a receipt notice for the same and then they will process your EAD application. The application processing times can vary by the location it was filed. Once USCIS completes processing and approves EAD,  they will send H4 EAD Card. The card will have C26 Category listed on the card. Below is sample H4 EAD Card. 

Common FAQs on H4 EAD 

H4 EAD application and New Biometrics Requirements for Form I-539 ?

The New Biometric requirement is for H4 visa holders applying for H4 Extensions using I-539 form. The biometric requirement is not for the H4 EAD application. If you plan to apply for EAD alone based on eligibility, you do not need to do any biometrics. But, if you are filing for H1B Extension, along with that if you are filing your H4 Extension using I-539 form and also, you are concurrently filing your H4 EAD application in the same package, then you will need to do the biometrics as per new process. Again, this Biometrics process is for H4 Extension and does not have anything to do with EAD application filed by H4. Check New I-539 Form Biometrics Requirements for H4 Holders

What is the Fee for EAD Application for H4 Visa holders? Whom to Pay to ?

H4 EAD filing fee 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.

Can I apply for H4 EAD, back from my home country ?

No, you need to be in US and on H4 visa status to apply for EAD application.

Travel outside of US with H4 EAD pending ?

Yes, you can technically travel outside of US to any country, after filing your H4 EAD application, but USCIS recommends not to travel to handle the RFE, Receipt notices, any requests to visit application centers, etc. They say that the process could get delayed, if you get an RFE, or they need something from you. It will just delay and you will have to come back for the same. If there is no RFE or anything, you should be fine to get the H4 EAD card to your address in mail.

Travel outside of US with H4 EAD along with H4 Change of Status (COS) Pending ?

Well, this is a tricky situation and not usually recommended to travel outside of US.  The reason is USCIS will abandon your H4 Change of Status (COS) application as your I-94 details change, subsequently USCIS may also deny  H4 EAD. The recommended approach, if you have to travel is to get your H4 COS done first, then apply for H4 EAD and maybe travel after that as it is less risky and more logistics issues to deal with.

 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 Card. You can check out many of the common  H4 Visa EAD FAQs – F1 to H4 COS, H1B to H4 COS, I-140 Revoked

How soon can you apply for H4 EAD Renewal ?

You can apply only 180 days before the expiry of your current EAD document. You cannot apply anytime before 180 days for H4 EAD.

Can my H4 EAD be filed with future effective date ?

Yes, you can apply for renewal anytime during the 180 days before your expiry of H4 EAD with a future date example, if let’s say your expiry is in July, you can apply in February for the same to have effective date for renewal in July. Your Validity of the H4 EAD will be tied to the H4 validity and H1B of your Spouse/

Where can I get Passport Photos for H4 EAD in US ? Which stores ?

You can get them at Costco, Walgreens or any of the passport photo for H4 EAD. It costs 9.99$ in Costco for 4 photos and at Walgreens it costs 14.75$ for 2 photos.

Do I need take Biometrics for H4 EAD Application ?

No, biometrics are only required for H4 application and not for H4 EAD.

Is ITIN Mandatory for applying H4 EAD ?


Can I apply H4 EAD for my under 21 Children ?

No, H4 EAD is only for Spouses, children are not eligible.

Official USCIS Steps and Process Published from the past

USCIS published some of their guidance on how to apply, including the most commonly asked FAQs, when they originally published the rule to be effective. 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 was your experience filing H4 EAD ? Any  questions ?  Share your thoughts, experiences.

Reference :


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Comments ( 289 )

  1. Chandana

    Hi, I would like to know where to apply for the h4 EAD? Do we need to go through an attorney or a consultancy? Please let me know.

  2. rimpy

    Hi, My h1 renewal (wife h4 also) is in process and I got the receipt (EAC #). My h1 is expiring May 30th. Should I wait till get H4 renewal or I can apply for my wife’s H4EAD based on receipt? Can it be consider both in parallel processing? Thanks for replying.

  3. H4ac21

    Hi Everyone, I have a clarification regarding the new EAD rule for H4’s and any information would be greatly appreciated. My husband priority date is July-14 and his 6 years in H1B is getting over coming august. (Aug-15). Unfortunately, My husband’s PERM application went to audit and so he would be filing for extension of 1 year after August.From what I understand, I will be eligible for EAD under the rule, after he has extended beyond 6th year. My question to you guyz is, will I be able to apply for H4 EAD when we file for his extension or do I have to wait for his extension to be approved and then file for my EAD separately. Like I said, any information is greatly appreciated. We are trying to reach his attorney but unable to do so

  4. deep

    Following are my questions can someone help me through this
    Do we need pay fee for attorney to apply H4ead rule?
    Do we need have blood work done same as EAD?
    do we need to apply for travel documents as we go India?

    1. same boat

      Hi AK, did you get your answer? I am still searching on what letters and numbers to use for H4EAD category. Please respond if anyone has the information available on this.

  5. soumya

    Hi I have 2 quick questions hope you can let me know the answeres to them;
    1. The marriage certificate that’s required :the Indian Marriage cert will work or we need to get from USA govt
    2. Our (My husband’s and mine) visa is valid till Nov 2015, so does that mean i will get EAD till Nov 2015 only? We have I-140 approved.

    Can you please tell me these?

    1. The Truth

      1. Indian marriage certificate will do. You carried the same marriage certificate for the H-4 visa interview and for the entry into USA, so tat will work for here as well.
      2. H-4 EAD will be for the period that current H-4 is valid. If your spouse’s H-1B and your H-4 is expiring in Nov 2015, it would be better to apply for H-1B and H-4 extension as well as the H-4 EAD concurrently. This should give you a 3 year validity on all the visa statuses and the H-4 EAD.

      1. The Truth

        Also remember that the H-1B and H-4 extension can be applied only 6 months before the expiry date, so look at that and decide when you can apply for all 3. Your spouse’s immigration attorney should be able to help you with this.

      2. soumya

        Thanks for the reply, we have started working on our extension. But can you tell me which category does the H4 with approved I 140 falls under to apply EAD?

  6. Bonnie


    My husband has an approved I140 and we have all the documents that are required for my H4 EAD application. Can we ourselves file form I765 or should we go through an attorney?

  7. rimpy

    I heard that only 10,000 will be eligible first? So one of my friend has decided to go early USCIS office to submit form personally. Is it correct or some wrong information that this year only First come First serve 10000 will be considerd? Thanks for help.

  8. walini

    I am on H4 and I have an extension till October 2016 but my i94 says Admit Until Date: 2013 November 11. Does this mean I have to get an extension on my i94 as well? or is it the same thing?

    1. walini


      I am on a H4 visa right now and will be applying for the EAD in May. my husband has a approved i140 and has been working with his current employer for almost 6 years now.

      I would appreciate if you could let me know if current i765 form in USCIS website is the updated form for H4 spouses to fill and submit. Also what do you fill in question 16. My husband is on H1B and we have the I140 approved. So I am little confused as to what need to be fill in Q16 in the form.

      Secondly, what supporting documents would we have to send with the i765 form. They mentioned photographs, are there any specific dimensions or do they have to the usual passport size ones.

      Our extension will be expiring sometime in October 2016, do I have to wait to extend my stay before apply for my EAD or can I go ahead and apply in May 2015.

      Thank you and would appreciate if you could respond to the queries above.

  9. Nima


    My husband’s I-140 is approved and I am on H4, which makes me eligible to apply as per the new rule.

    However, my husbands visa is nearing the expiry date. He has applied for an extension a couple of month back and we are yet to ear from them. We are planning to apply thru this new rule for me to be eligible to work here.

    Given the case, I have my sisters wedding in India on Aug 20th, that I have to be part of.

    If my application is still pending until say 15th August, Can I take help/permission from immigration and just attend the wedding in India? Without having an impact to my application.

    If there would be an option for me to come back from India by 25th August 2015. Will I be able to apply to this rule at that point? Will this delay pose any difficulty for my application going through?

    Kindly assist. What will be suitable for me. Both my sis wedding and my career are crucial to me. Plssss reply.



      You need to send one document to uscis stating that you visiting india and will be back! after u come back you need to update latest I94 then uscis will continue working with your application.

  10. Anonymous


    Here is my situation. I have an approved I-140 from my previous company (company A). After may 26th can my new company (company B) apply for my EAD using company A’s I140?


  11. Mohan

    Hi ,

    MY PERM labor application is on processing, it might take until August this year and to get I-140 approval, more 1 month.
    So, until what time I can apply for H4-EAD for my wife, is USCIS going to allow the application until end of the fiscal year i.e. Oct 2015 or it can be applied later also ?
    How many applications are going to be taken by USCIS this year.

    My intention is not to waste this year and wait for the next fiscal year -Oct 2016.

  12. Nil

    I was on h1b for 7 years (till 2007) before going overseas. My Green card was applied but withdrawn later.
    I came back on L1A in 2012 and got EAD for my spouse, expriring in Mar 2015.
    I am now on H1b.
    Considering I have spend more than 6 years on H1b with break (my wife has been on H4 for 2 years and on L2 for 2 years) , can we apply for EAD under H4 for her with having applied for Green Card?


  13. PendingH4

    I had recently applied for H4 status in Dec 2014. It may take another 3 months based on the processing times on uscis website. My husband has an approved I140 and am eligible for the H4-EAD. However, my indian passport will expire in 7 months and I realize that it is a mandatory document. Am unable to renew it due to pending visa status. My question is, can I apply for the H4EAD with this passport in May when my passport is less than 5 months valid?

  14. Bored h4

    Can I open a business with my H4 EAD. If so – What will happen if in case my spouse loses his job.

    Thanks for your help.

  15. xplosion79


    I am on H1B with I-140 approved.
    Earlier, I was on L1B and my wife had L2-EAD.

    The L2 EAD is now expired.

    I have few questions:

    1. Do I have to renew the L2 EAD and change the status to H4 EAD or H4 EAD is a brand new thing.

    2. If H4 EAD is brand new process, do I have to take any action on the expired L2 EAD?

    3. Can my spouse start a business in US with H4 EAD?

    4. Can she work for multiple employers, work and do business together?

    5. If my wife starts business and I get laid off. Being the H1 primary, will the H4 EAD automatically expire?

    Thanks and appreciate your thoughts 🙂

  16. Sri

    Hi Kumar,
    Is this H4 EAD application can be submitted by an individual without any attorney ? if so is online submitting the EAD application is possible? Please let me know
    Thank You!

  17. Vivek

    My I140 is approved and I have the receipt number. My wife is in H4 and will be filing for EAD.
    I am in the middle of switching my job with the I140 receipt number to maintain priority date. Is there any risk with this in filing H4 EAD?

  18. HydGirl


    I am on H1-B visa and my husband is on H1-B as well. His I-140 got approved recently. Can I apply for change of status to H4 and apply for EAD after May 26, 2015? The reason I ask this is, with EAD, I can get full time offers? Is this true?

    Is it a good idea to move from H1 to H4 to EAD?

    Please suggest.

    Thank You

    1. HydGirl

      Just FYI.. I have not started my GC process yet. I’m just confused whether to start it or go with this new rule? But, some of my friends are suggesting me to be independent – because this process may have some risks.. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated!

      1. Lucky

        The rules from USCIS are yet to be refined. I guess we might have a clear picture by the month of MAY. So until then do not take decision on converting your visa status. Also EAD do not guarantee you a job. I am an employer and from my point of view, there will thorough background check on h4 EAD employees as they might be idle since very long.

  19. Babu

    My I-140 is approved but my employer didnot provide me with any document .. So how can I apply H4 EAD for my spouse? Is receipt number enough?

    1. Ryan Locke, Esq.

      Per the Federal Register, secondary evidence may be considered in lieu of the I-140 approval notice, such as petition receipt numbers or copies of any relevant petitions or receipt notices. If you are applying without the I-140 approval notice, make sure it is still valid and consider asking a licensed U.S. attorney to prepare your application to make sure it’s as strong as it can be.

  20. Let this be true

    While this rule is good in its own way,
    Can anyone please provide ur input as to how this might affect the number of people in the H1 lottery this year ?
    Its ridiculous that they did not think of increasing the H1 quota and risking people with Masters from amazing universities being sent back.

    So just hoping, would this rule mean, we would have lesser H4s applying for their H1s this time?

      1. kk

        Wouldnt the master’s quota be backlogged since last year too ?
        And also they get another shot in the regular quota lottery if they dont get through the master’s quota.

        and any predictions on what the numeber of appls for master’s quota would be this time?

  21. Srabani

    My husband has approved I-140 right now,but his h1 is expiring jan 2016.his extension will be filed later this year.and also he is going to change employer immediately after that.my question is,will my H4 EAD will expire immediately with it? Is there any rule of employer can’t revoke I-140 after 6 months of approval?

    1. Ryan Locke, Esq.

      Your H-4 EAD will expire when your husband’s H-1B expires. So, if you apply before he files for his extension, you will get a pretty short EAD. You can also wait to file your H-4 work authorization application together with his H-1B extension petition and your H-4 extension application.
      There is NO deadline as to when an employer can revoke an approved I-140. Most employer don’t do it as a rule, but they can change their minds at any time.

  22. Divya

    I am on F1 CPT and my project is long term. My CPT for this semester ends on May 10,2015. If i apply for change of status and EAD at the same time( May 26,2015), can i work during that time gap till it gets approved? As i don’t want to take a break from work. Any suggestions.

  23. Sunita

    Absolutely ridiculous rule! There are genuine people who have applied for their GC and are facing long wait lines and then there are rules to leagalize illegal immigrants and H4 EADs. Experienced people with Bachelors or Masters in Computer Science will try their “luck” in H1 lottery or wait for Priority Dates to become current while less qualified folks will get flexibility of job with EAD merely due to being a “spouse”? How absurd ! Did no one think of the logic? Does US want actual talent or not?

    1. svictor9

      I admit that you are entitled to your own opinion – But I do not agree with you.

      All they are granting is a right to work – What if an H4 holder was qualified in a different field, and not technology. Why is he or she less qualified just because they opted to study something else?

      Just to clarify – I have a computer science engineer with a masters degree, have enough experience at MNCs (In fact, I am on L1 visa right now), and am going to try my luck in H1 lottery this year. So this does not put me in your “less qualified” classification.

      1. Sunita

        I wouldn’t consider anyone similar to you as “less qualified”. All I’m saying is that it shouldn’t have been a blanket H4-EAD. H4-EAD associated with necessary qualifications and experience is still fair.

        1. svictor9

          Unless two people have similar qualifications, they wouldn’t be competing for the same job. Blanket EAD makes sense, and should have been there from the beginning.

    2. Mack

      First of all atleast think or research before criticizing a rule…THIS EAD is not giving any additional work permits. If you are aware of the GC process, earlier the spouses of GC beneficiaries were allowed to apply for EAD during the filing of form I485. (This has been going for years).
      With this rule the spouses can apply for EAD during I140, so that they do not have to wait until I485.. So in short it is not giving additional work permits, it is just not making the spouses wait. Additionally these EAD’s will be linked with their H1B’s dates so nobody is getting unlimited work permit

      1. Ryan Locke, Esq.

        I think the logic was that the H-4 spouses who will benefit are on their way to getting green cards anyway, and if they can work in the meantime, their whole families will be a lot happier and more likely to stick with the insanely long process instead of returning to their home country. Plus, if the H-4 spouses can work sooner, their skills will be fresher and they will be more valuable to U.S. employers than if sit out of the job market even longer, until their I-485s get filed.

    3. Employer's Choice

      Sunita… Generally it’s the responsibility of the employers to select a specific person or not for employment. They might count the experience of a person on H-4 or not. Choice is that of the employer.

  24. trups

    I am having H4 visa and my spouse on H1.
    i am profession industrial pharmacist with 10 years experinance
    my spouse work last 4 year in USA and visa vaild upto 2016 , can i take benifits of new rule

    1. Ryan Locke, Esq.

      You can only apply for H-4 work authorization if your spouse’s employer has started the green card process, and he has an approved I-140, or a PERM that has been filed at least a year ago. Your own professional qualifications don’t effect whether you can get the H-4 EAD.

  25. Bala

    I am on H1B and I am in US from Jan 2014 . It looks I am not eligible for this .
    But still I would like to get expert advice . Please help me to understand my eligibility.

    1. administrator

      Bala, Unfortunately, your spouse on H4 is not eligible yet. Your spouse need to fall under one of the two requirements.

  26. Priya

    I am on H4. My husband will complete his 6 years on H1B in Sep 2015. His PERM status is still pending with USCIS.He is about to apply for his H1 B extension .How much time will it take for his extension to get approved and when how soon can I apply for H4 EAD after that?

    1. Ryan Locke, Esq.

      With premium processing of his H-1B, it can get adjudicated in 2 weeks (longer if there is an RFE). Without premium processing, expect to wait 5 months or so. Once it is approved, as long as it is May 26 or later, you can apply for your EAD right away.

      In cases like yours where an H-1B worker asks for a petition extension for the remainder of his first 6 years plus the 7th year (because PERM will be pending for 365 days), you can apply for an EAD at the same time that he applies for the extension (as long as it is after May 26). However, USCIS has not determined yet how long the EAD will be valid for – whether only for one year (to match the one year extension the H-1B holder qualifies for), or until the H-1B worker’s status expires (up to three years).

  27. srija

    Hi guys ….

    My Husband is in USA from last 6 years and got his I-140 approved in 2008 from previous employer.

    now he is with another employer and his current employer not yet started GC processing.

    Can i still apply for H4 EAD with the approved I-140 from previous employer ?

    Thanks for your help !!!

      1. Anand

        Can someone explain this? Does this mean we need to have i-140 approved from the current employer?

        (3) Pending Form I-140 Immigrant Petitions With New Employer

        Fewer than a dozen commenters requested that DHS extend employment authorization to H-4 dependent spouses in cases where the H-1B nonimmigrants have transferred their employment to a new employer and are in the process of obtaining approval of a new Form I-140 petition. As noted above, however, authorizing employment based solely on the filing (rather than the approval) of a PERM application or Form I-140 petition is likely to encourage frivolous filings to allow the H-4 dependent spouse to obtain employment authorization while the filings remain pending. DHS thus is not extending this rule on the basis of pending PERM applications or Form I-140 petitions. By requiring that a Form I-140 petition first be approved, DHS will further disincentivize frivolous filings and better serve the goal of extending the immigration benefit of this rule to only those spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants who are genuinely on the path to lawful permanent residence.

        1. Ryan Locke, Esq.

          This refers to people who didn’t even have their first I-140 approved when they changed jobs. Even if the H-1B spouse has changed jobs after getting th eI-140 approved, if his I-140 is still valid and has not been withdrawn or revoked, and he is currently in H-1B status, the spouse can qualify for H-4 work authorization.

  28. lovethisrule

    Hi guys ….

    I was in USA for 7 years and got my I140 approved in 2013. I moved back to India 1 year back due to some personal commitments. Will my spouse be eligible for the He ead if I travel back to USA with same employer with whom my I140 was approved.

    Thanks for your help !!!

    1. ams

      I dont think so she would be eligible. Since you left the country, you were not on any status in the US for a while. If your H1B was simply with a different employer (without lapse) and you had the original I140, then she might have been eligible. But please confirm this with some immigration expert. Thanks.

      1. lovethisrule

        I am employed with same employer in india who had filled my I-140 in 2013 … i have my H1B valid till 2016 dec and plan to travel USA in mid of 2016 for 4-5 years ….

        Do you still think that my I-140 will not be valid ?? my I-140 has not been revoked by my employer …

  29. which one better

    does h4 ead come with any restriction or you can work for any employer? in this case, can a prior h4 dependent with i140 APPROVED, who recently changed to h1 claim a h4ead

  30. for the change

    Hi There,

    My husband has approved I-140 from employer A and now he is with employer B.
    Can i still apply for H4 EAD with the approved I-140 from employer A?

    Please share your thoughts and ideas on this.

  31. Sangita

    I am on H4 visa and my spouse on H1. My spouse’s GC process is yet to start, but one of the employer has sponsered my GC for future employment. My I-140 is approved but I have never been on H1 before. Please advice if the H4- EAD rule benefits me in any way.

    1. ams

      if you want to get H4 EAD, you have to be an H4 and your husband H1 with approved I140. In your current situtation, it doesnt look like you are eligible.

  32. Abishek

    Please help with this question if any one have answer:

    My Wife is on F-1 Visa and Currently doing CPT Intern. Is it possible for her to apply for H4 and I765 at same time. She will be done with her CPT Intern by end of May.

    I don’t want to apply for H4 now because then she will have to drop out of CPT Intern.

    Any replies greatly appreciated.


    1. ams

      F1 status has its own benefits like separate H1B quota for masters, OPT extension and no social security tax. If I were you, I would not change my wife’s status from F1 to H4.

      1. Rik

        In my case my wife is on OPT right now. If I file for concurrent “COS to H4 and H4 EAD” applications, does she have to stop working after her COS to H4 is accepted? I know this is grey are a but if someone can shed some light here, it would be great. In our case, we do not have any other choice after all.

        1. ams

          If her change of status is accepted, then she would be on H4 and not F1 (OPT). You are forgoing no. of benefits of student visa most importantly separate masters quota for H1B which has become even more crucial considering the vast no. of ppl applying for H1 lottery these days.

          1. rik

            I already have got approved i140. I am talking about my wife who is on OPT i.e. F1. Question is- I am worried that she will have a break of 3 months because of the delay of concurrent processing.

  33. vaas

    I didn’t understand the point 2 in the eligibility criteria “stay in the United States under AC21 beyond 6 years”. I was in L1B for 5 years, then I transfer my Visa to h1B and I have been on H1B for last 1.5 year, and my employer applied for GC in 2012 and it pending with USCIS since then (due to denail and appeal). So does my spouse eligible to work under this rule? Since I am in US beyond 6 years limit?

  34. Vel

    My PERM is pending beyond 365 days and I extended my H1-B for 1 year based on pending PERM application. So, does my spouse become eligible to apply EAD?

    1. administrator

      Well, you need to have approved I-140 to be eligible. If your I-140 is not approved, it means that your spouse is not eligible, unless your H1B was extended beyond 6 years under ACT21 Act

  35. Sita

    Initially I was on h4.currently on h1 my husband is on h1 with i140 approved.can I apply for EAD?or do I need to first change to h4 and then apply for EAD?
    Any help appreciated.thanks.

    1. roja

      Hey there,
      I have the same question. I was in h4 before, when my husband’s i140 got approved. But currently in h1b visa since 2.6 years. Can I apply for ead in this case.

    2. administrator

      [Response Corrected ] As per the draft filing instructions modified for I-765 by USCIS for H4 EAD filing, you may apply simultaneously for Change of status (I-539 form) along with the EAD application form (I-765). The only thing is that USCIS will first process your change of status application and then process your I-765 based on the eligibility.

      1. roja

        Thank you kumar. In this case, I believe I can continue working while by change of status is in process from h1 to h4 without taking any break with my current employer until I get h4 ead card I’m hand. Please confirm. Once again appreciate your help

  36. Confused

    My husband was on L-1 b visa and changed to H1b after being on L1b for almost 5 years. Now his company has filed for green card and he has an approved I-140. He is working on H1b for 2 years now. So in short – he is working in USA for over 7 years now.
    – Was on L1b but changed to H1b later.
    – Is on H1b now.

    Do I – his h4 dependent qualify for this rule.

    1. administrator

      Your spouse’s previous status does not matter. What matters is that your spouse’s current status. If I understand correct, he is on H1B and have I-140 Approved and you are on H4, you should be qualified to apply for EAD.

    1. administrator

      I do not think there is such restriction. The whole idea of giving H4 visa holders EAD is to give them opportunity to work during the Green Card transition period. F1 student EAD that comes with EAD is very different, do not relate to that.

  37. Asha Ram

    Iam currently on h4, planning to apply for h1 this year.also my husband will be applying for perm and I-140 this year.do u think I can still apply for h4 EAD if I get get my h1b approved for this year..please help

    1. administrator

      Asha Ram, You need to be on H4 visa status to apply for the EAD. You can do change of status (COS) from H1B to H4 once your spouse’s I-140 is approved and apply for EAD.

  38. Maverick288

    If i140 is approved – Primary applicant will also get EAD ?
    or it is like your dependent can work for any company but primary applicant should continue to work for petitioned employer ?

    May be it works on lines of L 2 visa..
    Please share your thoughts.

    1. administrator

      EAD is only issued to the Spouse of the H1B Holder, who is in the process of Green card. Yes, it works on the same lines of L2.

    1. administrator

      Mayank, I am guessing if you are on H1B with I-140 Approved, it should be fine and you must be eligible. Because yours is National Interest Waiver EB2, I am not sure as the rule published does not really talk about these subtle variations. Please check with USCIS. You can schedule an appointment with them and get it clarified.

  39. Arch


    I was on H4 visa when I came to USA, I did a COS next year. Currently I am working on OPT and have my OPT till end of next year. I wanted to know if I can be eligible for this rule?

    1. administrator

      Arch, You need to be on H4 Visa status to apply for the EAD. When you are on OPT, you are on F1 status. Your eligibility is determined by the Green Card Application status of your spouse. The above article lists those, check if you fall under one of them.

  40. Jiya

    Its a very good news for those who are eligible for this rule. Congratulations!
    This rule will decrease the number of applications for H1B visa for 2016. What do you think?

    1. administrator

      You are right, it definitely could reduce the applications. Many of the H4 visa holders, who are eligible, may just hold back on their H1B Applications, the logic is that EAD is definitely much better than H1B status.

        1. svictor9

          I am applying for H1B this year, and my husband should get his I140 sometime soon. Not very clear to me whether I should wait for I140, and then apply for EAD, or go through with H1B. Also, I see people on H1B asking about moving back to H4 to get EAD – Is there any advantage? Am I missing something?

          1. svictor9

            But you have the added advantage of having two independent visas – If my husband loses his job, he can get an h4, and we can continue to be here.

        2. vandy

          It helps you as you are not restricted to one employer and also you will have more openings as the employer don’t have to pay you a minimum LCA salary

    2. ams

      H4 EAD is not intended to circumvent the H1B visa program in any way. I assume for specialty occupations (requiring H1B), employers have to apply for H1B. There needs to be more clarity on this. My guess is no. of H1B visa applications are going to increase and not decrease.

  41. Nikhil

    For wives on F1(Student visa), logic tells me that they first have to apply for H4(takes roughly 4-5 months). Once approved, only then apply for I765(takes another 3 months). Any chance they can apply simultaneously for H4 and EAD to save time? I am guessing, no.

    1. Suresh

      Dependents studying on F1 doesn’t make sense at-least with this new rule. Studying on H4 visa would help in reduced fee too (compared to F1 visa holders).

      1. QH

        F1s get OPT while H4 won’t after they graduate, that’s why many people would like to study on F1. Plus, F1s can apply RA and TA, which reduces fee…

      2. Nikhil

        The university in the city where I live doesnt let H4 students qualify for in-state tuition unless you have an assistantship (I know….stupid rule. I have fought them like crazy on this). Secondly the in-state tuition is only about $4k less than what an international student pays even if you qualify. Keeping this in my mind, your earnings through on-campus jobs, assistantships and summer internships will earn you considerably more than what you save by being a student on H4.

    2. administrator

      [Response Corrected ] As per the draft filing instructions modified for I-765 by USCIS for H4 EAD filing, you may apply simultaneously for Change of status (I-539 form) from F1 to H4 along with the EAD application form (I-765). The only thing is that USCIS will first process your change of status application and then process your I-765 based on the eligibility.

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