Unlike H1-B visa holders whose US visa status is tied to their jobs, eligible H4 EAD visa holders can work for any employer. Upon being laid off by their employer, they can get another job with any employer in the US. This allows them the same benefits like any American worker and therefore, qualifies certain H4 visa holders for unemployment benefits from their states.
Lost Job On H1-B And Not Finding Another Employer?
Here Are The Next Steps Within The 60-Day Grace Period
How Can H4 Visa Holders Qualify For Unemployment Benefits?
- Should be able to work for any employer and not require sponsorship.
- Have a valid and current work authorization like employment authorization document (EAD)
- The EAD should valid for the entire duration of collecting unemployment benefits
- These benefits are contingent upon the state you live in. Illinois, for example does not offer benefits to nonimmigrants.
Documents To Apply For Unemployment Benefits for H4 Visa Holders
- Apply in the state you worked
- Fill application for unemployment available online on each state’s online portal, in person or on the phone. See Contact List below.
- Submit a copy of your Social Security card
- Copy of any document that shows the Social Security Number
- Recent pay stubs and other wage records
- Documents from employer showing cause of unemployment
- Documents showing loss of pay
- Latest tax records
- Prepare for an interview by a State official
How Long Can H4 Visa Holders Claim Unemployment Benefits?
- Each state dictates its own criteria for unemployment benefits, which is typically 26 weeks.
- Florida and North Carolina each offer 12 weeks, while Missouri provides 13 weeks of unemployment benefits. Please check with the state you worked in to confirm duration
- With the new stimulus package, your state may qualify for an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits.
- Under the federally-funded Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) benefits, you may be eligible to receive benefits that last up to a total of 39 weeks.
- For states that offer less than the 39 weeks of unemployment benefits, you may be eligible for an additional $600 through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).
Economic Relief For H1-B Visa Holders
Here’s How To Get A Stimulus Check From The US Government
Where Can H4 Visa Workers Apply For Unemployment Benefits
- When filing the form, keep your responses simple and short.
- Keep looking for another employer
- Save document proof of your continued search for alternate jobs
- Be prepared to go to the employment office designated in your state weekly or bi-weekly for person status updates.
- If you do find another employer, ensure you report this on your tax filings for that year.