by Chris Musillo

Starting May 26, 2105, certain H-4 spouses of H-1B holders can file for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). The full regulation has just been published.

Musillo Unkenholt has had many questions from clients and friends of the firm. We have published these in this FAQ.

Can I file before May 26, 2015?
No. The USCIS will not accept EAD applications until May 26, 2015.

How long will it take the USCIS to process the EAD Application?
Traditionally EAD Applications take 90-120 days until approval.

Can I work upon the filing of the EAD Application?
No. The EAD must be approved?

Who qualifies for the new H-4 EAD card?
Certain H-4 spouses may file for the new H-4 EAD. Children who hold H-4 status are ineligible for the EAD.

Which H-4 spouses may file for an EAD?
In order to decide if you qualify for the H-4, we must look to the underlying H-1B status holder. The USCIS elected to apply the rule first set forth in Section 106 of AC21. The H-1B worker must either:
A.Hold an approved I-140, Petition for Alien Worker. The approved I-140 does not need to be from his present employer; or
B.Have a priority date that is at least one year old. A priority date can be established by the filing of a PERM Application or a Form I-140.

May an H-4 spouse file for an EAD if the H-4 spouse holds (A) an approved I-140 or (B) one year has passed since the filing of a PERM or I-140?
No. The USCIS looks to the H-1B worker to meet A or B, above. It is irrelevant if the H-4 meets A or B.

Are there any limitations on the work that I can perform on an H-4 EAD? For instance, is there a prevailing wage? Am I limited only to certain types of jobs?
No. There are no such limitations. You can work for any employer, at any rate (above minimum wage), and in any occupation.

What should I do if I want to file an H-4 EAD?
EAD Applications do not require an attorney’s assistance, although many people find it helpful to have an attorney assist in the process. If you would like MU Law to help, please contact us.

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