Effective May 26, 2015, the new EAD for H4 rule allows eligible H4 dependent spouses of H1B visa holders to apply for H4 visa EAD, Employment Authorization Document. An H4 EAD allows certain H4 visa holders to legally work in the United States as long as their spouse has valid H1B visa status. H4 visa spouses must apply for H4 EAD and obtain employment authorization to start work or business in the US.

For those who are not sure of how to apply for H4 EAD, the H4 visa EAD application process is similar to the regular EAD application process, involving meeting certain eligibility requirements, submitting Form I-765, and paying the required H4 EAD fees.

H4 dependent spouses are eligible to apply for H4 visa EAD as long as their H1B spouse meets one of the following requirements.

  • H1B visa holder is the principal beneficiary of an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker; or
  • H1B visa holder has been granted H1B visa 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 (AC21).

H4 Visa EAD Application

The H4 Visa EAD application process is similar to that of applying for a regular EAD. To apply for H4 EAD, the applicant must file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. The process of how to apply for H4 EAD consists of the following steps.

  • Complete Form I-765, including the $380 filing fee.
  • Submit supporting evidence, including evidence of:
    • H4 status, shown by copy of most recent Form I-797 and Form I-94
    • Government issued ID with photo, shown by copy of biometric page of passport; birth certificate with photo; visa issued by foreign consulate; or national ID with photo
    • Relationship to H1B nonimmigrant, shown by copy of marriage certificate
    • Basis for eligibility, shown by copy of H1B nonimmigrant's Form I-797 approval notice for Form I-140; or copy of H1B nonimmigrant's passports, prior Forms I-94, and current prior Forms I-797 for Form I-129

Submitting Form I-765

H4 visa EAD applicants may not e-file Form I-765; anyone applying for H4 EAD must send Form I-765 along with the required fees and evidence via postal mail. Form filing details are outlined below.

  • If you are only submitting Form I-765 because you currently have H4 visa status and are not seeking an extension, mail to the Lockbox address found on the USCIS Direct Filing Addresses for Form I -765 web page.
  • If you are submitting Form I-765 and Form I-539 together because you are seeking to change or extend your H4 status, mail to the Lockbox address found on the USCIS Direct Filing Addresses for Form I -765 web page.
  • If you are submitting Form I-765, Form I-129, and Form I-539 together because you are seeking H1B status for your spouse and change or extension for your H4 status, mail to the Service Center with jurisdiction over Form I-129. Visit the USCIS Direct Filing Addresses for Form I-129 for more information.

Even though you can file Form I-765 and Form I-539 together, please note that USCIS will not process your Form I-765 until it has adjudicated your Form I-539.

The 90-day adjudication period for Form I-765 filed together with Form I-539 will not begin until your H4 status is determined, your spouse's H1B status is determined, or both.

After Applying for H4 EAD

You must wait for approval of your Form I-765 application before you may begin working in the US on H4 visa EAD. Once your From I-765 is approved, you are authorized to work through the expiration date specified on your EAD. You can file Form I-765 for a renewal EAD up to 120 days before the expiration date of your current EAD.

You can learn more about the documents required and fees, refer to EAD for H4 Required Documents and EAD for H4 Fees.

To learn more about EAD for H4 Visa Holders, check out the active forum EAD for H4 Visa or H4 EAD Tracker.