EAD for H4 Visa Holders [New Rule] – Updated August 9, 2014

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New rule have been proposed to provide work authorization EAD for H4 Visa holders in certain conditions.

Key terms to know

  • EAD – Employment Authorization Document or Work Permit
  • H4 Visa Work Permit -  H4 is issued for dependents of H1B visa holders
  • Not all H4 Visa spouses will qualify for work permit. (“certain spouses”).
  • DHS – Department of Homeland Security.

Lot of people have been waiting for long time for this rule to be implemented.  Since, H1B Cap for 2015 is over in first 5 days, White House have released a fact sheet on implementing this rule.

EAD for H4 Updates Tracker

  • August 9, 2014 – When Rule can be published?
  • July 12, 2014 – Public Comment Period is Over. Next USCIS will review comment.
  • May 6, 2014 - DHS announces the criteria for qualified H4 Visa for EAD
  • April 8, 2014 – White House Announced Fact sheet to allow certain H4 visa holders to get EAD. Details below.
  • Feb, 2014 – USCIS haven’t implemented this rule or made any progress. It’s still listed in their Rule Making Agenda.
  • March, 2013 – Review Extended by OMB.
  • Feb, 2012 – This Rule was proposed in Feb of 2012.

Specifically, employment ( work permit ) will be authorized for H4 visa dependent spouses of principal H-1B visa holders who have begun the process of seeking lawful permanent resident status through employment after meeting a minimum period of H-1B status in the U.S.

This effort will help retain talented professionals who are valued by U.S. employers and who seek to contribute to our economy.

August 9, 2014

I learned additional information about this rule and what to expect next.

  • Final Rule – Will not be drastically different than proposed.
  • USCIS – Reviews comments and Publish Final Rule.
  • OMB Review – It can take upto 90 more days of review. No minimum Review period.
  • After Final Review – Rule can be published.
  • Effective Date – 30 to 60 Days Delayed Effective Date.
  • It’s August 2014 : Based on Above Math, rule will not be effective until January 2015, if  reviews started by end of August.

July 12, 2014

  • Public Comment Period is Over.
  • USCIS will review the comments
  • Finalize the Draft of Interim Rule.
  • Submit the Rule to OMB for further Review ( 30 to 90 days)
  • Then White House have to Approve the Rule before publishing in Federal Register.
  • So, how long to wait? Few more months.

May 6, 2014

  • Department of Homeland Security announced the criteria “certain” H4 Visa spouses to get EAD.
  • Several  H4 Visa holders will not be eligible to work, about 100,000 in first year of this rule becoming effective.

April 2014

Attracting the World’s Best and Brightest: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will soon publish several proposed rules that will make the United States more attractive to talented foreign entrepreneurs and other high-skill immigrants who will contribute substantially to the U.S. economy, create jobs, and enhance American innovative competitiveness.  These proposed regulations include rules authorizing employment for spouses of certain high-skill workers on H-1B visas, as well as enhancing opportunities for outstanding professors and researchers. These measures build on continuing DHS efforts to streamline, eliminate inefficiency, and increase the transparency of the existing immigration system, such as by the launch of Entrepreneur Pathways, an online resource center that gives immigrant entrepreneurs an intuitive way to navigate opportunities to start and grow a business in the United States.

Above statement was part of new fact sheet released by White House. Hope this will result in some progress from USCIS on new rule making agenda.

We have to wait for exact language from White House or DHS to know who would qualify for “certain” H4 spouse as per April 2014 update.

  I support this EAD for H4 Rule. Implement this Rule ASAP. #DHS. Tweet: Please Implement this EAD for H4 Rule ASAP.  #DHS  via @happyschools  http://ctt.ec/P5XGa+

March 2013

Previous update us listed below – Status update as of March/9/2013 – Rule Review Extended.

In order for the this rule to be implemented, there is a process that DHS, they have to complete review via OMB.

This work authorization for H4 rule was received by OMB on Dec/10/2012. Typical Time taken for PMB to review the Rule is 90 days.

90 Days have come and gone. OMB has extended the EAD for H4 visa holders rule review.

h4 ead rule extended

I don’t know how long the extended review will last.

Looks like if the Rule is classified as Economically Significant, then this rule could have been reviewed faster.

I know several H4 visa holders are hoping for this new EAD for H4 rules to pass, so they can start working. I personally know several H4 Visa holders who are highly qualified, talented are spending time as home makers.

EAD for H4 Visa : 2012 – 2013

Updated ( 2014) : Following section applies to Rule when it was  introduced back in 2013 and 2013 time frame. New proposed rule is improver version of this section.  This section is still here, so you can learn about original proposal.

This is part of initiative to Attract And Retain Highly Skilled Immigrants.

  • Provide work authorization for spouses (H4 Visa) of certain H1B holders.

This proposed change to the current DHS regulation would allow certain spouses of H-1B visa holders to legally work while their visa holder spouse waits for his or her adjustment of status application to be adjudicated.

Here is more detailed information on who will be qualified under new proposed H4  work option rule

  • This means that if the H4 Visa souse’s whose principal H1B Visa holder have spent less than 6 years in H1B cannot get EAD.

At  a minimum, a PERM labor certification or I-140 would have to have been filed, and even approved to qualify for the 3 year H1B extension, if less than 365 days had elapsed since submission.

Who qualifies for EAD for H4?

For instance,  a person named John, who is working on H1B in USA for 1 year, gets married. Wife Anita, get H4 visa and comes to USA.

Anita (H4 spouse) will not be eligible to get EAD under this new rule right away.

In order for Anita to get EAD for H4 Visa, she must wait for John to complete 5 more years in H1B for a total of 6 years.

Check if you or your spouse qualify for EAD for H4 Rule? Tweet: Please Implement this EAD for H4 Rule ASAP.  #DHS  via @happyschools  http://ctt.ec/P5XGa+


EAD for H4 Visa : 2014

You can read the latest information about this Work Permit for H4 Visa spouse in this article – 97,000 qualified spouses in H4 can get EAD.

In short, following H-4 visa holders will qualify

  • H1B visa holder should have approved I-140 application  (and/ or)
  • H1B visa worker got H1B extension beyond 6 years using AC 21.

If you are new to green process, then you can read this article – Green Card Process Steps for  EB2 and EB3

Stay tuned for more updates on this new proposed EAD for H4 visa rules.

We have been waiting for long time for this rule to be implemented right?


Let me know if you have any questions about this Work Permit or about USCIS implementation of this rule.

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