Employment Authorization to be available for certain H-4 holders on May 26, 2015

On February 24, 2015, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) announced that it would begin granting employment authorization to certain H-4 dependent spouses. Specifically, spouses of H-1B non-immigrants who are seeking employment-based permanent resident status (“green card”) will be able to apply for work authorization if their spouse meets one of the two requirements. USCIS will limit H-4 work authorization to the two categories below where the H-1B spouse:

  • Is the principal beneficiary of an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker
  • Has been granted H-1B status under sections 106(a) and (b) of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000 as amended by the 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act. The Act permits H-1B non-immigrants seeking lawful permanent residence to work and remain in the United States beyond the six-year limit on their H-1B status.

The procedure for applying for H-4 employment authorization will require filing Form I-765 with all necessary supporting documents with USCIS. USCIS will begin accepting applications on May 26, 2015. Currently, USCIS estimates that it may receive over 179,600 applications for H-4 employment authorization in 2015 alone.

The H-4 employment authorization program is a great initiative to assist families that are undergoing the employment-based green card process. By allowing certain H-4 spouses to work, these families will be able to expand earning power and further support themselves during the EB green card process. At this point, USCIS has not announced any restrictions on the type of employment for H-4 work authorization. Subject to employers’ requirements for potential hires, the program appears to lend freedom to an H-4 holder to pursue employment of his or her choosing upon work authorization approval.

Milla & Associates, LLC is happy to meet with you to discuss obtaining H-4 employment authorization if you believe that you or a loved one may qualify. We invite you to schedule an appointment with our employment-based immigration specialist for a free initial consultation. Please contact us at (312) 924-2862. Milla & Associates, LLC is a leading immigration and deportation defense law firm located in Chicago.