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USCIS to Extend Employment Authorization to Spouses of Some H-1B Visa Holders

Pursuant to President Obama’s November 2014 announcement on executive action, the Department of Homeland Security announced today that it will extend eligibility for employment authorization to certain dependent (H-4) spouses of H-1B visa holders who are in the process of seeking Employment-Based Lawful Permanent Residence.

According to, H-4 visa-holders are eligible under the work authorization expansion if their H-1B spouses:

  • 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.

USCIS will begin accepting accepting work authorization applications from eligible H-4 spouses on May 26, 2015.  In order to apply, eligible spouses must file the Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, along with all required supporting evidence and filing fees (currently $380).