EIG Dispatch – Special Alert

H-4 Employment Authorization Effective May 26, 2015

As an update to our previous report, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director León Rodriguez announced today that employment authorization for certain H-4 dependent spouses will go into effect on May 26, 2015. Eligible individuals include H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants who have an approved I-140 or have a PERM application that was filed at least 365 days prior to reaching the end of the sixth year of H-1B status. It is predicted the new regulation will have an impact on approximately 55,000 H-4 dependent spouses per year.

Eligible H-4 dependent spouses must file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization and supporting evidence, including evidence of lawful status and proof of the marital relationship. Upon approval, the H-4 dependent spouse will receive a Form I-765, Employment Authorization Document and may begin working in the United States. It has not yet been announced what the maximum duration of the work authorization will be. It is likely that the validity period will be 1 to 2 years, not to exceed the applicant’s current H-4 status.

USCIS will not consider applications submitted before May 26, 2015. EIG will work closely with clients to prepare the filings of employment authorization applications for eligible H-4 dependent spouses.