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H-4 Employment Authorization Program to Begin in May 2015

On February 24, 2015, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) announced that certain H-4 nonimmigrants may soon seek employment authorization. Beginning May 26, 2015, USCIS will begin accepting applications from H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B workers who: Are the beneficiaries of an approved

  • Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker; or

  • Have been granted H-1B status beyond the normal six-year limit based on the filing of a labor certification (PERM) application.

The new H-4 employment authorization program requires the H-1B spouse to have started the permanent resident (“green card”) process, usually through an employer-sponsored petition. Because of this requirement, employers may receive requests from their H-1B workers to begin the green card process soon.

Extending employment authorization to dependent spouses, USCIS Director León Rodriguez explained, will encourage H-1B workers to stay in the United States and complete their transition from temporary workers to permanent residents, allowing U.S. businesses to retain a greater number of their highly skilled workers. The new rule will also more closely align U.S. immigration policies with the laws of other countries that compete to attract highly skilled workers.

To apply for employment authorization, H-4 nonimmigrants must file USCIS Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, along with supporting documentation and a filing fee of $380. Once USCIS approves the application and issues an Employment Authorization Document (“EAD”), the H-4 nonimmigrant may begin working in the United States.

©2022 MICHAEL BEST & FRIEDRICH LLPNational Law Review, Volume V, Number 56

About this Author

Jose Olivieri, Michael Best Law Firm, Higher Education, Labor and Immigration Attorney
Partner, Industry Group Chair

José is the founder and co-chair of Michael Best’s immigration law practice. Clients depend on his deep knowledge of and experience with U.S. immigration law and employment-based immigration matters, including:

  • Immigration status

  • Permanent labor certification

  • National interest waiver

  • Adjustment of status

  • Consular processing

  • Citizenship and...

Kelly M. Fortier, Michael Best Law Firm, Business immigration, Attorney

Kelly helps employers of all sizes meet their staffing needs by handling the immigration issues they face in hiring foreign nationals and moving employees around the globe.

A partner in the firm’s Labor and Employment Relations practice group and Co-chair of the Immigration and International Migration team, she handles compliance issues for corporations that transfer dozens of employees into and out of the United States each year as well as small companies seeking to bring in a few key hires from abroad.

Kelly is highly...

Kelly Rourke, Michael Best Law Firm, Immigration and Employment Attorney

Kelly assists employers with administrative law matters, focusing her practice primarily on employment-based immigration.

She regularly helps clients meet critical staffing needs by obtaining nonimmigrant status for foreign workers and securing and maintaining legal permanent residence for foreign nationals. To this end, she handles an array of nonimmigrant petitions, applications for labor certification, adjustment of status and naturalization filings, consular processing matters, motions to reopen, and motions to reconsider. She also...