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Employment Authorization for Certain H-4 Visa Holders


The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) appears to be making good on one of the promises made by the President when he announced immigration executive action last fall. USCIS Director Leon Rodriguez announced yesterday that the DHS will extend work authorization to certain H-4 dependant spouses of H-1b visa holders who are seeking employment-based permanent residence in the United States.

Individuals who come within the purview of this benefit are certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B non-immigrants who:

  • Are the principal beneficiaries of an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker; or
  • Have been granted H-1B 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. The Act permits H-1B non-immigrants seeking lawful permanent residence to work and remain in the United States beyond the six-year limit on their H-1b status.

The new rule will go into effect on May 26, 2015. Note, not all H-4 dependent spouses will qualify for this benefit. If you are an H-4 spouse and you require additional clarification on the parameters of this new rule, you can go to or reach out to me directly.


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