Wyatt Employment Law Report


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Employment Authorization Document for H4 Dependent Spouses

By Barbara W. Menefee

Photograph of a U.S. Department of Homeland Security logo.At long last, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has announced that it will begin accepting applications for employment authorization documents for the dependent spouses of H1B visa holders (“H4”) under certain circumstances. This news is welcome for the thousands of intending immigrants who are in long lines awaiting a visa to become available so that they can file applications for permanent residence in the United States. For instance, if a person from India begins the employment-based permanent residence process today, he or she can expect to wait at least 10 years before they are eligible to file an application for permanent residence in the United States. For most spouses of these applicants, that has meant ten years without the authorization to work in the United States.

The announcement specifically applies to H4s whose spouses have approved I-140 Immigrant Petitions on their behalf, or whose spouses otherwise qualify for an extension of their H1B status beyond the typical six years. This provision will Continue reading