h1b ead h4 i140 green card

High Skilled Legal Immigration Changes by Obama – Details

Here’s the leaked memo about President Obama’s Executive Action on legal Immigration Reform for High Skilled workers who are waiting for ages to get green card.

Related Blog Posts

The President’s actions will also streamline legal immigration to boost our economy and promote naturalization by:

  • Providing portable work authorization for high-skilled workers awaiting LPR status and their spouses. Under the current system, employees with approved LPR applications often wait many years for their visa to become available.  DHS will make regulatory changes to allow these workers to move or change jobs more easily.  DHS is finalizing new rules to give certain H-1B spouses employment authorization as long as the H-1B spouse has an approved LPR application.
  • Enhancing options for foreign entrepreneurs. DHS will expand immigration options for foreign entrepreneurs who meet certain criteria for creating jobs, attracting investment, and generating revenue in the U.S., to ensure that our system encourages them to grow our economy.  The criteria will include income thresholds so that these individuals are not eligible for certain public benefits like welfare or tax credits under the Affordable Care Act.
  • Strengthening and extending on-the-job training for STEM graduates of U.S universities. In order to strengthen educational experiences of foreign students studying science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) at U.S. universities, DHS will propose changes to expand and extend the use of the existing Optional Practical Training (OPT) program and require stronger ties between OPT students and their colleges and universities following graduation.
  • Streamlining the process for foreign workers and their employers, while protecting American workers. DHS will clarify its guidance on temporary L-1 visas for foreign workers who transfer from a company’s foreign office to its U.S. office. DOL will take regulatory action to modernize the labor market test that is required of employers that sponsor foreign workers for immigrant visas while ensuring that American workers are protected.
  • Reducing family separation for those waiting to obtain LPR status. Due to barriers in our system, U.S. citizens and LPRs are often separated for years from their immediate relatives, while they wait to obtain their LPR status. To reduce the time these individuals are separated, DHS will expand an existing program that allows certain individuals to apply for a provisional waiver for certain violations before departing the United States to attend visa interviews.
  • Ensuring that individuals with lawful status can travel to their countries of origin. DHS will clarify its guidance to provide greater assurance to individuals with a pending LPR application or certain temporary status permission to travel abroad with advance permission (“parole”).
  • Issuing a Presidential Memorandum on visa modernization. There are many ways in which our legal immigration system can be modernized to reduce government costs, eliminate redundant systems, reduce burdens on employers and families, and eliminate fraud. The President is issuing a Memorandum directing an interagency group to recommend areas for improvement.
  • Creating a White House Task Force on New Americans. The President is creating a White House Task Force on New Americans to create a federal strategy on immigrant integration.
  • Promoting Citizenship Public Awareness: DHS will launch a comprehensive citizenship awareness media campaign in the 10 states that are home to 75 percent of the overall LPR population. USCIS will also expand options for paying naturalization fees and explore additional measures to expand accessibility, including studying potential partial fee waiver for qualified individuals.
  • Ensuring U.S. Citizens Can Serve: To further our military’s needs and support recruitment efforts, DHS will expand an existing policy to provide relief to spouses and children of U.S. citizens seeking to enlist in the military, consistent with a request made by the Department of Defense.

h1b ead h4 i140 green card

Update 1: (Nov 20, 2014. 10:08 PM)

  • New option called – “Pre-Register”
  • Employees who have approved labor and I-140 would be able to apply for EAD ( instead of waiting for Priority Date)
  • Employees can switch jobs, apply for EAD and advance parole with approved I-140
  • Change jobs and jobs don’t have to similar or same.
  • Port green-card petition from one employer to another without starting over the process with new employer
  • Spouses who are on H-4 visa would be able to apply for work permit and receive EAD via the proposed H-4 EAD rule.
  • Additionally, they will also qualify for an EAD through the pre-registration step with primary applicant of green-card process.

Left Out Changes

  • No Changes to H1B Cap
  • No Visa recapture for Green Card
  • Not counting of family members

Update 2: ( Nov 20, 2014 – 11:06 AM)

  • EAD for H4 Visa final rule to be published shortly ( Source DHS Memo  – Page 1, Para 2)
  • USCIS Plan to implement Executive Actions summary  is listed below ( source )

uscis immigration memo plan

 

So, H4 for EAD will be implemented shortly. Other related actions can take several months ( maybe till end of next year). You may ask why?

Refer to to Rule Making Process that EAD for H4 went through. To implement the above proposals, USCIS will have to follow the same process.

 

Update 3 : Nov 22, 2014 ( 10.00 AM)

EAD for H4 Spouses could be implemented in December 2014. Confirmed.

To learn more visit this EAD for H4 page.

 

 

98 Comments

  1. rex on August 16, 2015 at 2:13 AM

    Employees who have approved labor and I-140 would be able to apply for EAD ( instead of waiting for Priority Date).

    Is this already confirmed with procedure from USCIS for EB2 application with any nationality?

    • Raghuram Sukumar on August 16, 2015 at 6:10 AM

      It’s not.

  2. Sonali on April 25, 2015 at 9:55 AM

    Hi raghu,

    My husband is on l1b n it expires in nov 2015, he has approved i140 so obamas rule ” person having approved labor can apply for EAD” is applicable to us too. So we can also apply for EAD even though he is not on h1

    • Raghuram Sukumar on April 25, 2015 at 2:07 PM

      Not for L1. Why do you need h4 EAD when you can get L2 EAD and work?

  3. Eddie on April 12, 2015 at 1:27 AM

    Hi Raghu,
    I had my I-140 approved EB2 as Math Teacher in Jan 2012 unfortunately my H1B had already been expired. Is there any way I can do to move on? Please help me on this matter and I do appreciate it.
    Thank you,
    Eddie

  4. Abby on March 10, 2015 at 3:40 PM

    Raghu,

    My OPT STEM expires on Feb 2016 and hoping if there are any prediction when the new OPT extension rule will takes place ? Do you think it will take place soon ? I did some research and figured that the previous OPT change (2008 I think ) did not took that long. Any idea ?

    Appreciate your help

    • Raghuram Sukumar on March 10, 2015 at 6:13 PM

      There’s no updates on OPT extension yet. Expected news could come in June 2015. Check back then.

  5. Richa on February 20, 2015 at 12:14 AM

    Hi,
    I am trying to get my H1B filed this year.And my husband(on H1B now) has filed for Green Card and also going to complete 6 years in Mar 2016.If i get my own H1B Visa ,Is it possible to switch to H4 EAD later or there is some catch.I have heard that we can’t switch visa status and it will be mandatory to maintain my H1 status or i might have to leave USA .

    Please clarify.

    • Raghuram Sukumar on February 20, 2015 at 8:22 AM

      Please post your questions in Q&A section ( refer to comments policy).

  6. Sachi on February 11, 2015 at 11:01 AM

    Hi Raghu..
    Thank You for the updates on these actions.
    My question is:
    Is there any update for pre register process?

    My husband I-140 is approved and he is changing the company. I am still waiting for H4 EAD rule to implement soon, so I can start working. However, Will I be eligible for EAD if my husband changes job or I have to again wait when his new employer will file his I-140 and that get approved?

    I would appreciate if you can clarify.

    • Raghuram Sukumar on February 12, 2015 at 6:07 AM

      No updates on Pre-Registration Process yet. H4 EAD : we have to wait for final approval.

  7. Sonia on December 29, 2014 at 1:43 PM

    Hi Raghu,
    My husband is on H1B and he has I-140 and on extention. I also have H1B. I want to apply H4 and get the EAD so that i can easily switch the job. lots of company dont sponsor the H1B. i have some queries.
    1. Is it possible i can apply H4 and the same time on H4 application no. apply the EAD. or i have to wait for H4 approval and then aply the EAD?
    2. Once i get the H4 but not EAD then i can stay on H1B?
    3. or my H1 get revoke automatically once i get my H4?
    4. Can i stay on H1B till i will not get the H4EAD. after that i will switch on H4 and EAD?

  8. ziltog on December 10, 2014 at 11:49 AM

    My 29 Month OPT Extension expires on May 1 ’15. Wondering if the proposed OPT “Extension” would be effective by then?

  9. Ashraf on December 1, 2014 at 3:18 PM

    Raghu,

    Can you please provide more info on this ”

    “Staple” green cards to advanced STEM diplomas.”
    Because I have completed my Master’s in computer science and graduated from Virginia International University, and working as Software developer.

    Would I be eligible for Green Card?.

  10. SK on November 24, 2014 at 12:11 PM

    Hi Raghu – Just wanted to say how useful your blog is and what a great job you are doing! Thanks. And looking forward to more updates on the EAD after i140 approval provision.

  11. Lj on November 23, 2014 at 8:01 AM

    wow lookslike Raghu is the next US secratary of state at the minimum

  12. aashay deshmukh on November 22, 2014 at 5:34 PM

    Raghu,
    one can apply for AP after I-140 is approved, but what about the backlog.
    So how long does someone have to be on AP before he/she applies for I-485?
    There is no specific details on this and i believe its not going to good either.
    You can just leave the current job and find another one without hassle, as long as
    you work in same field.
    Unless the unused visas are extracted from initial years, this AP does not make any sense, except for the spouse. All in all its not a win-win situation for H1B but for Zuckerbergs/Gates

    • Raghuram Sukumar on November 22, 2014 at 8:39 PM

      Watch the video for more details. No changes to clear the backlogs.

  13. prathy on November 22, 2014 at 5:26 PM

    Is it applicable to the person who have I-140 approved from a previous employer but currently working in another company and still had not started the GC process with the new employer? In this situation can his spouse in H4 apply for EAD?

  14. Ashutosh Lee on November 22, 2014 at 5:04 PM

    “Employees who have approved labor and I-140 would be able to apply for EAD ( instead of waiting for Priority Date)” Hi Raghu, Are u sure about this? Where does it says in executive order? Or is it just a guess

  15. Postive on November 22, 2014 at 12:29 PM

    Hi,

    You are doing a great work !!!!
    My Spouse have I140 approved and has changed the employer and they have started the PERM process. Previous employer has not revoked/withdrawn the I140. So, Can he apply for EAD on the basis of I140 approved and me as H4 eligible for EAD?

  16. Reena on November 21, 2014 at 4:27 PM

    Is This rule only for who applied green card not for every h1b

  17. Lakshmi on November 21, 2014 at 3:30 PM

    Hi Raghuram,

    Now what the situation is once the I140 is approved dependant of H1B visa holders can work with H4 EAD. So how long will it take upto I140 processing. What is the approximate time frame to get H4 EAD? Also i have a querry , once the I140 is approved and if my husband is changing the company the green card processing will cease rgt?( I have seen this in a discussion in your blog)So that will affect H4 EAD too… So for not losing I140 , after how many years (on which stage) can my husband change company without affecting greencard processing.
    If your are clarifying my doubts in this regard, it will really help me in my life

    Thanks
    Lakshmi

    • Raghuram Sukumar on November 21, 2014 at 8:41 PM

      PERM Labor – 8 months to 1 year.
      I-140 – 15 days to 6 months.
      I-140 – Will be lost when company revokes, else it will be valid even with new company. But new employer have to start from PERM.

      • Lakshmi on November 22, 2014 at 4:11 PM

        Hi Raghu ram,

        So once my husband is switching the company means I140 processing will also get terminated.

        So could you please explain when is the safe period for company switching , once the green card is being filed without affecting the green card (I 140) switching ?

        Thanks
        Lakshmi

      • Lakshmi on November 22, 2014 at 4:12 PM

        Hi Raghu ram,

        So once my husband is switching the company means I140 processing will also get terminated.

        So could you please explain when is the safe period for company switching , once the green card is being filed without affecting the green card (I 140) processing ?

        Thanks
        Lakshmi

      • Lakshmi on November 25, 2014 at 1:17 PM

        Hi Raghu,

        Thanks for all your updates and efforts…

        Am not clear with this point…

        So anyone who comes in now ,with fresh H1B and principal applicant’s GC gets started and reach to I140 stage in 1-1.5 yr, for this H4 spouse EAD will not be given and only thos H4 candidates will be eligible whose primary applicant got extension after 6th yr? Different comments related to this…please clarify me on this regard. It will be really a great help

        Thanks

        Lakshm

      • Lakshmi on November 25, 2014 at 1:17 PM

        Hi Raghu,

        Thanks for all your updates and efforts…

        Am not clear with this point…

        So anyone who comes in now ,with fresh H1B and principal applicant’s GC gets started and reach to I140 stage in 1-1.5 yr, for this H4 spouse EAD will not be given and only thos H4 candidates will be eligible whose primary applicant got extension after 6th yr? Different comments related to this…please clarify me on this regard. It will be really a great help

        Thanks

        Lakshmi

  18. sri on November 21, 2014 at 11:52 AM

    For OPT expansion, they require the students to have ties with the university. What does this mean for STEM students.

    • Raghuram Sukumar on November 21, 2014 at 12:06 PM

      That’s vague. We will have to wait for more info.

  19. Raghuram Sukumar on November 21, 2014 at 9:14 AM

    Exclusive – Video Interview with Immigration Attorney Murali Bashyan – http://192.138.19.181/faq-high-skilled-immigration-reform-interview/

  20. Paromita on November 21, 2014 at 7:30 AM

    Hello that’s what I am saying, Bachelors tudents with a degree in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) gets a total of 27 months of OPT since 2008. First they get it for one year and then they can extend it for another 17 months. Whereas masters students gets 1year of OPT upon graduation. These are not new, its been there since 2008.

    • Raghuram Sukumar on November 21, 2014 at 10:48 AM

      Masters Students do get 12+17 months OPT (STEM).

      • Scaredq on November 21, 2014 at 2:30 PM

        So what would be the new law for the extension if STEM is already 27 months?

        • Anon Techie on November 21, 2014 at 5:15 PM

          IMO:
          1) they are going to expand (not extend). Earlier if there were X fields eligible for STEM extension, with this new rule it’ll be X+Y fields eligible, where Y fields of specialization were accommodated in STEM extension due to this expansion.

          2) the total max duration a STEM graduate can work on OPT would still remain 12 months + 17 months extension.

          • Raghuram Sukumar on November 21, 2014 at 8:43 PM

            Refer to USCIS notes : Expand and Extend. Word is it can be as long as 48 months.



          • HS on November 23, 2014 at 5:11 PM

            Hi Raghu,

            Do you have any idea, when will this confirmed about the new length OPT (48 probably)? And when will it be regulated?

            For students who are already in OPT extension, like me will be be benefited or not?

            Thanks



    • Dumbo on November 22, 2014 at 5:24 PM

      12+17 is 29 !

  21. Tina on November 21, 2014 at 5:42 AM

    Hi Raghu,

    Is it possible for an employer to apply for i-140, even if I am not in US? I didn’t find any restrictions for this on USCIS website.

    I was on STEM OPT till 1 week back, now it expired and i am going back to india to work from there. I didn’t get lucky in the h1b lottery this year.

    My employer will apply for my h1b next year, can they also apply for i-140 (eb2 advanced degree) and eventually EAD?

    So if i don’t get my h1b again next year then can i come back and work on i-140 ead?
    Provided this reform gets through officially next year 🙂

    Thanks!

    • Raghuram Sukumar on November 21, 2014 at 8:54 AM

      Refer to Green Card Steps for EB2 and EB3 article in the blog.

      They can process your green card while you are outside the country.

    • AAA on November 21, 2014 at 9:07 AM

      I doubt it. Because EAD is not a visa. I think one needs a visa to enter the US, and lack of visa availability is what is driving the long wait times. If the visa availability becomes current through recapture process or changing the way applicant are counted towards the quota, then you could go the through the consular processing instead of filing I-145 (Change of Status)

      • AAA on November 21, 2014 at 9:09 AM

        I mean I-485

  22. Hemchand on November 20, 2014 at 11:58 PM

    hai raghu brother…….what are the benefits for upcoming ms students??can you please elaborate?

    • Raghuram Sukumar on November 21, 2014 at 10:49 AM

      Refer to the video interview to learn the benefits.

  23. kwhendh on November 20, 2014 at 10:45 PM

    I am now 7th year in H1B and have filed PERM AUG2013, But I had the labor audit requested and responded on APR2014, Now, the labor audit current date is Apr2013. I have the wait time about a year. After the immigration reform, will it move faster? also, is it possible for my spouse to apply for an EAD? is there any help for this situation. Please do clarify

  24. kinu10 on November 20, 2014 at 10:35 PM

    so employer has to apply for ead right or can employee apply ?a

  25. Edit on November 20, 2014 at 10:11 PM

    What happened to recapturing of unused H1Bs and Green Cards and counting only the principal applicant for the Green Card quota? Will it be explored in this Presidential Memorandum on visa modernization that is part of the memo?

    • Dumbo on November 20, 2014 at 10:44 PM

      How will Raghu know ? That’s what President told us. Go to White House and ask him !

  26. Naveen on November 20, 2014 at 10:07 PM

    Earlier this year DHS announced -Expand eligibility for 17-month extension of optional practical training (OPT) for F-1 international students to include students with a prior degree in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Do you think thats what ‘expansion’ of existing OPT imply?

    • Paromita on November 20, 2014 at 10:22 PM

      Stem students already get 27 months of total opt. I dont understand whats the new policy for students who have finished their high school and bachelors in usa and currently enrolled for masters. Do they get any advantage?

      • Dumbo on November 20, 2014 at 10:43 PM

        Paromita ? What’s your problem ? Why are you annoying people with your dumb questions.. It’s clearly written expansion, which means a better chance of H1, can’t you understand that ? Dumbo

      • Dumbo on November 22, 2014 at 5:22 PM

        Dumbo! OPT for bachelors, OPT for Masters..What else do you want ?

  27. H4visa on November 20, 2014 at 10:01 PM

    What does pre registration step for EAD for h4 spouse mean?

  28. MB on November 20, 2014 at 9:59 PM

    When does this go into effect? Jan 1 2015?

  29. LB on November 20, 2014 at 9:49 PM

    Hi Raghu. Are you sure H-4 visa holders (spouse of H1-B’s with approved I-140) will get EAD’s ?

  30. Peter on November 20, 2014 at 9:48 PM

    Hey Raghu. Are you sure about this memo ? I have not seen any official postings on the WH site. Neither did the President give any details in his speech – only mentioned some changes coming for high-skilled immigrants.

    • Raghuram Sukumar on November 20, 2014 at 9:51 PM

      🙂 thats why so many people are now in the blog. They want details. And I have listed above. it’s from official news. Have some faith in what I post in the blog.

      • Peter on November 20, 2014 at 9:54 PM

        Thank you for posting these details. Hopefully it will get implemented soon

  31. Vishy on November 20, 2014 at 9:41 PM

    Hi Raghu are you positive that I-140 approved candidates can apply for EAD. or it is just a speculation. Because we don’t have any access to executive order yet

    • Raghuram Sukumar on November 20, 2014 at 9:50 PM

      What I have shared is the official news. This always happens. I can see another comment with same question.

  32. Karthik Mani on November 20, 2014 at 9:36 PM

    LPR means Lawful Permanent Resident. It does not say I-140 approved? Please clarify..

  33. Paromita on November 20, 2014 at 9:28 PM

    What about kids oh H1b workers who have completed high school, changed visa status, From h4 to F1, completed bachelor’s, used 27 months of opt to work in usa than registered for masters and working on cpt currently. What about students like that?

    • Dumbo on November 20, 2014 at 10:39 PM

      By that time you will be able to sponsor ! Use some brain ..

    • Dumbo on November 20, 2014 at 10:45 PM

      Dumbo ! How did you come to USA? Such a dumb head !

    • Dumbo on November 21, 2014 at 11:26 AM

      You will then be able to sponsor him dumbo !

  34. munna on November 20, 2014 at 9:14 PM

    How will it impact the waiting time for Green Card? after I-140 approval, we have to still wait for same time for Green card ? Can we file I-485 just after I-140 approval?

    • Raghuram Sukumar on November 20, 2014 at 9:20 PM

      Wait Time will be the same. but, you get EAD.

    • Optimist on November 20, 2014 at 9:49 PM

      Wait time for GC will be same. But you can change jobs or accept promotions on EAD, not required to plan for stamping and actually take vacation when you visit home country. Spouse can work as they get EAD.

      • munna on November 20, 2014 at 10:01 PM

        Great!!! So no need for stamping while visiting home country. One can come back using EAD and Advance Parole which one will get after I-140 approval.
        One more thing, how long one can stay without job after getting EAD?

        • Dumbo on November 20, 2014 at 10:40 PM

          Let this come out first ! There is a lot of stuff going on..

  35. max on November 20, 2014 at 9:09 PM

    I have approved I-140 under EB3 can i apply for EAD for my spouse and my spouse is not from stem background.

    • Raghuram Sukumar on November 20, 2014 at 9:17 PM

      Yes. and you can change to new jobs.

      • max on November 20, 2014 at 9:21 PM

        and where and when can i apply for EAD for my spouse.

  36. Quick on November 20, 2014 at 9:04 PM

    When does this go into effect?

  37. Anand Muttayane on November 20, 2014 at 9:01 PM

    Thanks for Info.Is all these rules/law confirmed by Obama?. I am also in the same boat waiting for GC with I-140 Approval.

  38. prash on November 20, 2014 at 8:56 PM

    If a spouse on H4 did COS to F1 and remain for say x months on that and then again gets back on H4 , does it matter in regards to the new rule? or it does not matter for how long she was away from H4 to other status?

    • Raghuram Sukumar on November 20, 2014 at 9:01 PM

      Why go to F1? If primary applicant have I-140, spouse will get EAD.

      • prash on November 20, 2014 at 9:33 PM

        i mean she is already on f1 and travels outside USA to get f1 stamped and it gets denied , she will come back on H4 and primary applicants PERM will be filed soon and after his i-140 gets approved will she still be able to get EAD or this scenario will effect getting advantage of new rule.

  39. Sundesh on November 20, 2014 at 8:56 PM

    Will the OPT extension be valid even for MBA graduates who graduated in 2014? Currently, we have been given only 11 months of OPT.

    • Raghuram Sukumar on November 20, 2014 at 9:02 PM

      Not sure. We will see when the more details are published.

  40. raj on November 20, 2014 at 8:43 PM

    any benefit to people whose I140 is approved and waiting for GC?

    • Raghuram Sukumar on November 20, 2014 at 8:51 PM

      Yes, you they can apply for EAD.

      • PG on November 21, 2014 at 12:57 PM

        How about applicants who have I-140 approved and already changed employer?

        • Raghuram Sukumar on November 21, 2014 at 2:20 PM

          I’m not sure in this case how you can get EAD. I have to ask attorney.

          • Prathy on November 22, 2014 at 5:21 PM

            Is it applicable to the person who have I-140 approved from a previous employer but currently working in another company and still had not started the GC process with the new employer? In this situation Can his spouse in H4 apply for EAD.Would be happy if my doubts a re clarified.Thanks in advance.



  41. Pessimist on November 20, 2014 at 8:40 PM

    Any news on the H1B cap for US graduates?

  42. Optimist on November 20, 2014 at 8:24 PM

    THat sounds awesome if the same is implemented soon!!

    • Anon Techie on November 20, 2014 at 8:42 PM

      I’m not sure if I understand everything listed here. I’m on an H1b about to start GC process. If I’m not wrong, the new rule helps me get a EAD earlier and also for Spouse?

      btw, the OPT STEM extension was enacted fairly quickly, so I’d assume it should be implemented with a month or two.

      • Raghuram Sukumar on November 20, 2014 at 8:51 PM

        Yes. Correct. EAD after I-140 for you and spouse.

      • Optimist on November 20, 2014 at 8:55 PM

        Currently, I-485 can only be applied when our priority date is current, which means several years of wait. I think or hope the proposal is to give an opportunity to apply for I-485 (EAD) ( this is the third step or last step before applying for green card) when I-140 is approved(step 2 in GC process). That would eliminate starting over the process from step 1 when changing employers. Currently starting over the process again on accepting promotion or changing company this is a big problem along with long waiting times.

        • Raghuram Sukumar on November 20, 2014 at 9:02 PM

          Correct. That’s Big change.

        • Anon Techie on November 20, 2014 at 9:19 PM

          Thanks, I understand the changes much better now.

          That’s really is awesome!

    • Raghuram Sukumar on November 20, 2014 at 8:52 PM

      Yes, stay tuned for more details on implementation time.

  43. srini on November 20, 2014 at 7:36 PM

    nice

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