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How to Apply for H4 EAD: A Clear and Confident Guide

Are you looking for a guide on how to apply for H4 EAD? This comprehensive up-to-date article is the only guide you’ll need to read.

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What’s E4 EAD?

H4 EAD is a work authorization document that allows certain H-4 visa holders to work in the United States. It was introduced in 2015 and has been a topic of controversy since then. Applying for H4 EAD can be a complex process, but it can be done successfully with the right guidance and preparation.

To apply for H4 EAD, the applicant must first understand the eligibility criteria and the necessary documents required for the application process. The eligibility criteria include being the spouse of an H-1B visa holder who meets certain requirements, such as being the principal beneficiary of an approved Form I-140 or having been granted H-1B status under sections 106(a) and (b) of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000. The documents required for the application process include Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, and supporting documents that prove eligibility.

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding the eligibility criteria and necessary documents is crucial for a successful H4 EAD application.
  • The application process involves filling out Form I-765 and providing supporting documents.
  • Post-application steps, potential challenges, and renewal/termination of H4 EAD should also be considered.

Understanding H4 EAD

H4 EAD is an employment authorization document that allows certain spouses of H-1B visa holders to work in the United States. The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US employers to hire foreign workers in specialty occupations. The H4 EAD is available to spouses of H-1B visa holders who meet certain eligibility requirements.

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To be eligible for an H4 EAD, the H-1B visa holder must be the principal beneficiary of an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, or has 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. In addition, the H-1B visa holder must be in valid status at the time the H4 EAD application is filed.

The H4 EAD application process involves submitting Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, along with supporting documents and the required fee. The supporting documents include evidence of the H-1B visa holder’s eligibility, such as an approved Form I-140 or evidence of H-1B status under sections 106(a) and (b) of the Act.

It is important to note that the H4 EAD is not available to all spouses of H-1B visa holders. Only certain spouses who meet the eligibility requirements are eligible to apply for the H4 EAD. Additionally, the H4 EAD is not a permanent solution for employment authorization and must be renewed periodically.

Overall, the H4 EAD provides an opportunity for certain spouses of H-1B visa holders to work in the United States and contribute to the US economy. Understanding the eligibility requirements and application process is important for those who are considering applying for the H4 EAD.

Eligibility Criteria for H4 EAD

To be eligible for H4 EAD, the applicant must be a dependent spouse of an H1B visa holder. The H1B visa holder must have either an approved I-140 form or be the principal beneficiary of an approved I-140 form.

Status of H1B Spouse

The H1B visa holder must be in a valid status and must have maintained their H1B status. If the H1B visa holder has changed to a different visa status or has left the country, the H4 visa holder is not eligible for H4 EAD.

Approved I-140 Form

The H1B visa holder must have an approved I-140 form to be eligible for H4 EAD. The approved I-140 form must be from the current or a previous employer of the H1B visa holder. If the H1B visa holder has changed employers, they must have an approved I-140 form from their previous employer to be eligible for H4 EAD.

It is important to note that the H4 EAD applicant must file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, and pay the required fee. The H4 EAD applicant must also provide evidence of the H1B visa holder’s approved I-140 form and proof of their relationship to the H1B visa holder.

In conclusion, to be eligible for H4 EAD, the applicant must be a dependent spouse of an H1B visa holder who has either an approved I-140 form or is the principal beneficiary of an approved I-140 form. The H1B visa holder must be in a valid status and must have maintained their H1B status.

Documents Required for H4 EAD Application

To apply for an H4 EAD, certain documents are required. These documents include:

Form I-765

Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, must be filled out completely and accurately. This form is used to request employment authorization and must be submitted with the required fee.

Form I-539

Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, must also be completed. This form is used to request a change of status to H4 and must be submitted along with the required fee.

Proof of Relationship

Proof of relationship to the H1B spouse is also required. This can be in the form of a marriage certificate, birth certificate, or other legal document that shows the relationship between the H1B spouse and the H4 applicant.

Photographs

Two passport-style photographs are required. These photographs must be taken within 30 days of the application and must meet the requirements set forth by the USCIS.

It is important to ensure that all documents are complete and accurate before submitting the application. Any errors or omissions can cause delays or even result in the application being denied.

Overall, the process of applying for an H4 EAD can be complex and time-consuming. However, by following the guidelines and submitting all required documents, applicants can increase their chances of a successful application.

Application Process for H4 EAD

To apply for an H4 EAD, the applicant must complete the application process. The application process includes filing the application, payment of fees, and biometrics submission.

Filing the Application

To file the H4 EAD application, the applicant must first complete Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. The form is available on the USCIS website and can be completed online or by mail.

The applicant must provide the required information on the form, including personal information, employment history, and details about the H-1B spouse. The applicant must also provide evidence of eligibility, such as a copy of the H-1B spouse’s approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, or evidence that the H-1B spouse has been granted H-1B status under sections 106(a) and (b) of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act (AC21).

Payment of Fees

The applicant must pay the required fees when filing the H4 EAD application. The current fee for Form I-765 is $410. The fee can be paid by check or money order, or by credit card using Form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transactions.

Biometrics Submission

After USCIS receives the H4 EAD application, the applicant will receive a notice to appear for biometrics collection. Biometrics collection involves taking the applicant’s fingerprints, photograph, and signature.

The applicant must appear at a USCIS Application Support Center (ASC) to have their biometrics collected. The ASC will schedule the appointment, and the applicant must bring the appointment notice and a valid government-issued photo identification to the appointment.

Once the application is complete and all required documents and fees have been submitted, USCIS will review the application and make a decision. If approved, the applicant will receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) in the mail. The EAD will be valid for a maximum of two years and can be renewed as long as the applicant remains eligible.

Read: Can H4 Visa Holder Work in USA? 2023 Updates

Post Application Steps

After submitting the H4 EAD application, there are a few steps that applicants can take to track the progress of their application and ensure that they receive their Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card in a timely manner.

Tracking the Application

To track the status of the H4 EAD application, applicants can use the USCIS Case Status Online tool. This tool allows applicants to check the status of their application by entering their receipt number. The receipt number is provided on the Form I-797C Notice of Action that the applicant receives after submitting the application.

It is important to note that the USCIS Case Status Online tool may not provide real-time updates on the status of the application. Applicants should allow several days for the tool to reflect any changes in the status of their application.

Receipt of EAD Card

Once the H4 EAD application is approved, the applicant will receive an EAD card in the mail. The EAD card typically arrives within 2-3 weeks after the application is approved.

If the applicant does not receive the EAD card within 30 days of the approval notice, they should contact the USCIS National Customer Service Center for assistance. The applicant should have their receipt number and other relevant information available when contacting the USCIS.

It is important to note that the EAD card is only valid for a certain period of time. The expiration date of the EAD card is printed on the card. Applicants should apply for a renewal of the EAD card at least 180 days before the expiration date to avoid a gap in employment authorization.

Overall, tracking the H4 EAD application and ensuring the timely receipt of the EAD card are important steps in the application process. Applicants should follow up with the USCIS if they have any concerns or questions about the status of their application or the receipt of their EAD card.

Potential Challenges and Solutions

Application Rejection

Unfortunately, not all H4 EAD applications are approved. Some common reasons for rejection include incomplete applications, missing documents, and errors in the application form. To avoid this, applicants should double-check their application before submitting it to ensure that all required documents are included and that the form is filled out correctly.

If an application is rejected, the applicant will receive a notice explaining the reason for the rejection. In most cases, the applicant will have the opportunity to correct the mistake and resubmit the application. However, this can delay the processing time and may result in a longer wait time for the EAD.

Delayed Processing

Another potential challenge with H4 EAD applications is delayed processing times. USCIS processing times can vary depending on a number of factors, including the number of applications received and the complexity of each application. As of August 2023, USCIS processing times for H4 EAD applications are averaging around 4-6 months.

To minimize the risk of delayed processing times, applicants should ensure that their application is complete and that all required documents are included. They can also check USCIS processing times regularly to get an idea of how long they can expect to wait for their EAD.

In some cases, applicants may be able to expedite their application if they can demonstrate an urgent need for the EAD, such as a job offer or impending loss of employment. However, expedited processing is not guaranteed and may require an additional fee.

Overall, while there are potential challenges with the H4 EAD application process, careful preparation and attention to detail can help minimize the risk of rejection or delays.

Renewal and Termination of H4 EAD

Renewal Process

H-4 EAD is valid for a period of two years and can be renewed for as long as the H-4 visa holder remains eligible. The renewal process is similar to the initial application process. The applicant must file Form I-765, along with the required documents and fees. The renewal application can be filed up to 180 days before the current EAD expires.

It is important to note that the H-4 visa holder must continue to meet the eligibility requirements for the H-4 EAD in order to renew it. If the H-4 visa holder’s spouse loses their H-1B status, the H-4 EAD will also be terminated.

Termination Scenarios

There are several scenarios that can lead to the termination of an H-4 EAD. The most common scenarios are:

  • The H-4 visa holder’s spouse loses their H-1B status
  • The H-4 visa holder’s spouse changes employers and the new employer does not file for an H-1B extension
  • The H-4 visa holder’s spouse changes their status to a non-H-1B visa category
  • The H-4 visa holder’s own status changes, making them ineligible for the H-4 EAD

If any of these scenarios occur, the H-4 EAD will be terminated. It is important to note that the termination of the H-4 EAD does not automatically invalidate the H-4 visa. The H-4 visa will remain valid as long as the visa holder continues to meet the eligibility requirements for the H-4 visa.

In the event of termination, the H-4 visa holder must stop working immediately. It is the responsibility of the H-4 visa holder to inform their employer of the termination of their EAD and to stop working on the date of termination. Failure to do so could result in serious consequences, including deportation.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the requirements for H-4 EAD?

To be eligible for H-4 EAD, an individual must be the spouse of an H-1B nonimmigrant who is the principal beneficiary of an approved Form I-140 or has been granted H-1B status under sections 106(a) and (b) of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000.

How do I apply for H-4 EAD for the first time?

To apply for H-4 EAD for the first time, an individual must file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, along with supporting documents and the required fee. The supporting documents include evidence of eligibility, such as marriage certificate, H-1B approval notice, and proof of relationship to the H-1B nonimmigrant.

Can I apply for H-4 EAD by myself?

Yes, an individual can apply for H-4 EAD by themselves. However, it is recommended to seek the assistance of an experienced immigration attorney to ensure that the application is properly prepared and filed.

How long does it take to get a H-4 EAD?

The processing time for H-4 EAD varies depending on the workload of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Currently, USCIS processing times are approximately 3-6 months.

Where do I send my H-4 EAD application?

The H-4 EAD application should be sent to the USCIS lockbox facility specified in the instructions for Form I-765.

What are the photo requirements for H-4 EAD application?

The photo requirements for H-4 EAD application are the same as those for a passport-style photo. The photo must be in color, 2 inches by 2 inches, and taken within the last 30 days. The background should be white or off-white, and the individual should be facing the camera with a neutral expression.

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