H-4 EAD: Employment Authorization for Dependents


Are you a skilled worker interested in immigrating to Canada with your spouse and/or dependents? When immigrating through an H-1B visa, you are given the chance to bring eligible family members with you on an H-4 nonimmigrant visa. US businesses use the H-1B program to employ foreigners in specialty occupations that require a bachelor’s or higher degree in a specific specialty that is directly related to the H-1B position. The H-4 visa is issued to qualifying family members who wish to accompany an H-1B visa holder but are not authorized to work. In other cases, having a spouse and/or dependent authorized to work can be vital so you may need to apply for an H-4 EAD.

Filing an H-4 EAD which stands for Employment Authorization for Dependent will allow an individual’s dependents to work legally in the United States.

H-4 EAD Requirements

Certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B holders can file Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization) if the H-1B nonimmigrant:

  • 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

How To Apply

To successfully obtain an H-4 Visa EAD, you must:

  1. Complete Form I-765 
  2. Submit supporting evidence

You will not be authorized to work until the USCIS approves your Form I-765. Once your employment authorization is approved, the expiration date on your EAD should be the same date as the expiration date on your most recent Form I-94 indicating your H-4 nonimmigrant status. You are only authorized to work through the expiration date on your EAD.

H-1B to H-4 EAD

In some scenarios, an individuals can find themselves reaching the end of their H-1B employment agreement and now need to find a next step to stay in the United States. Let’s say you’ve met your spouse while in the US and they are an H-1B Lisa holder, you may want to change your status to a dependent H-4 visa, and here’s how!

You are only eligible to do this if:

  • Your spouse has a valid H1B visa
  • You are in a legal bona fide marriage with your spouse
  • You won’t be working when your H4 visa is approved

Once your H-1B visa employment agreement ends, the visa also ends as soon as your 6-year maximum limit ends. It’s best to start this process 2-3 months before your H-1B expires as it will take 2-3 months to process!

Need Help Filing An H-4 EAD?

If so, Contact VisaPlace today. All our cases are handled by competent and experienced immigration professionals who are affiliated with VisaPlace. These professionals consist of lawyers, licensed paralegals, and consultants who work for Niren and Associates an award-winning immigration firm that adheres to the highest standards of client service.

Ready for the next step? Book your 1 on 1 consultation now or call us at 1-888-317-5770.

Have a Question related to your Immigration Needs?

Fill out the FREE Immigration Assessment form and get a response within 24 hours to see if you’re eligible.

The assessment form should take approximately 5-7 minutes to complete. We will get back to you within one business day to let you know if we are able to help.

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