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APRIL 2015

Certain H-4 Spouses Can Apply for Work Authorization Starting May 26

A new rule goes into effect on May 26, 2015, that will permit H-4 spouses of certain H-1B employees to apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Currently, H-4 spouses are not permitted to work. Under the new rule, in order to obtain work authorization, the H-4 spouse must establish one of two requirements: (1) that the H-1B worker is the beneficiary of an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker; or (2) that the H-1B worker has an approved H-1B extension of stay because he or she is the beneficiary of a permanent labor certification application or an employment-based immigrant petition that was filed at least 365 days prior to reaching the end of the sixth year of H-1B status. The H-4 spouse’s work authorization will coincide with the duration of time given to the H-1B worker. It is expected that the rule will help alleviate the long wait H-4 spouses must endure before securing work authorization through their H-1B worker spouse’s application for permanent residency. The government’s plan to finalize this rule was announced by President Obama in the context of his November 2014 Executive Action on Immigration.

This update is for informational purposes only and is not intended as specific legal advice in any way.
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