When Can You File?
H-4 Spouses will be eligible for filing their requests for employment authorization document (EAD) with the USCIS from May 26, 2015. USCIS will reject applications received before May 26, 2015.
This rule ONLY applies to H-4 spouses who meet the following conditions:
H-4 spouse must be on approved H-4 status or must have filed change of status request to H-4 (concurrent filing of I-539 [form for change of status to H-4] and I-765 form for EAD is allowed);
H-1B spouse must have an approved I-140;
H-1B spouse must have extended H-1B status beyond 6 years based on a PERM or I-140 filed and pending status for 365 days (commonly referred to as “7th year extension” or “106a extension”).
Important Things to Know and Consider Before Filing H-4 EAD
1. H-4 EAD is for blanket employment – H-4 spouse can work full time or part time or not work at all and for any employer and in any occupation
2. USCIS is coming out with a new Form I-765 for H-4 EAD filing
3. USCIS is expecting 179,600 H-4 Spouse EAD requests in the first year and 55,000 cases each year thereafter
4. H-4 EAD Renewals may be filed 6 months in advance of the requested start date – contrast with other EADs that can only be filed 4 months in advance
5. Duration of the H-4 EAD is tied to the validity of H-4 Status in US (length of authorized period of admission) – so, it is prudent to file H-4 EAD after you have either obtained (or filed) for H-4 stay extension, particularly if your H-4 status is expiring within a short duration (less than 6 months)
6. If change of status (COS) to H-4 and EAD request are filed concurrently, the EAD processing will only kick in after the COS has been approved – so, the 90 day clock for EAD inquiry starts only after the COS has been approved
7. There will be no Premium Processing for H-4 EAD requests
8. There will be no interim EADs issued after 90 days of wait
9. There will be no concurrent filing of I-140 and EAD allowed – I-140 must be approved for H-1B spouse