H4 Visa Holders Can Work in the USA
In a new rule announced by the US Immigration Bureau, effective May 26, 2015, eligibility for employment authorization can be obtained for certain H4 visa holders (dependent spouses of H1B visa holders) who are seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident status.
Extending eligibility for employment authorization to H4 visa spouses of H1B holders is one of several initiatives underway to modernize, improve and clarify visa programs to grow the U.S. economy and create jobs. Allowing the spouses of these visa holders to legally work in the United States makes perfect sense, USCIS said. It helps U.S. businesses keep their highly skilled workers by increasing the chances these workers will choose to stay in this country during the transition from temporary workers to permanent residents.
It also provides more economic stability and better quality of life for the affected families.
The Act permits H1B visa holders seeking lawful permanent residence to work and remain in the United States beyond the six-year limit on their H1B status. DHS expects this change will reduce the economic burdens and personal stresses H1B holders and their families may experience during the transition from nonimmigrant to lawful permanent resident status, and facilitate their integration into American society. As such, the change should reduce certain disincentives that currently lead H1B visa holders to abandon efforts to remain in the United States while seeking lawful permanent residence, which will minimize disruptions to U.S. businesses employing them.
The change should also support the U.S. economy because the contributions H1B visa holders make to entrepreneurship and science help promote economic growth and job creation. The rule also will bring U.S. immigration policies more in line with those laws of other countries that compete to attract similar highly skilled workers.Under the rule, eligible H4 dependent spouses must file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, with supporting evidence and the required $380 fee in order to obtain employment authorization and receive a Form I-766, Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
USCIS will begin accepting applications on May 26, 2015. Once USCIS approves the Form I-765 and the H4 visa spouse receives an EAD, he or she may begin working in the United States. USCIS estimates the number of individuals eligible to apply for employment authorization under this rule could be as high as 179,600 in the first year and 55,000 annually in subsequent years.