Breaking news: Work permission for H4 visa holders- almost here!


Breaking news: H4 visa holders to get employment authorization and high-skilled immigrant retention proposals!


In the early hours of May 6, 2014, the Department of Homeland Security issued a press release proposing new regulations. Here is a summary:

1. H4 visa holders WILL get work authorization. The conditions will be that their H1b spouses have I-140 approvals and are in the 7th year (and beyond) extension period.

2. E3, H1b1 and CW1 visa holders normally need an approved application before they can take on new employment.  The proposed rule will allow them to work during the time the application is pending and will have 240 days of work permission (similar to certain other employment-based visa applications)

3. The rules will streamline evidentiary issues for EB1 Extraordinary Ability and Outstanding Researcher categories by allowing comparable evidence.

The rules will be published in the Federal Register in the next 2-3 days  Thereafter, there will be a public comment period, likely 60 days.  We will likely be able to make applications soon thereafter. Sign up to our blog to keep abreast of these changes!

While this is not a blanket work permission for all H4 visa holders, it certainly will help thousands of people waiting in the visa backlog to get a green card some day.

Watson Immigration Law applauds President Obama, the Administration, Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and the Department of Homeland Security for taking action on such an important issue.  We hope in due course implementation will be as seemless as it was for DACA.

Originally posted on the Watson Immigration Law Blog. Reprinted with permission.

About The Author

Tahmina Watson Tahmina Watson is an immigration attorney and founder of Watson Immigration Law in Seattle Washington. She was a practicing barrister in London, UK, before immigrating to the United States herself. While her practice includes family-based and employment-based immigration, she has a strong focus on immigrant entrepreneurs and start-up companies. She can be contacted at You can visit to learn about Tahmina and her practice.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.