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The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has finalized a regulatory change that will allow certain H-4 dependent spouses to apply for employment authorization documents (EADs). The new regulation was effective on May 26, 2015.


Please note that not all H-4 dependents will be eligible to apply for EADs. The EAD provides unrestricted employment authorization. It can be used to work full time or part time for any employer in any field or position. Children who hold H-4 status, even those who are old enough to work, are not eligible to apply for employment authorization under the new rule.

Eligible individuals include certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants 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 nonimmigrants seeking lawful permanent residence to work and remain in the United States beyond the six-year limit on their H-1B status.