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USCIS Announces Employment Authorization Eligibility for Certain H-4 Dependents

February 24, 2015
Ana Maria Echiburu Tyrrell

On February 24, 2015, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that certain H-4 dependents would be eligible to apply for work authorization beginning on May 26, 2015. H-4 dependents are spouses or children of individuals in H-1B status.

Those H-4s who are eligible to apply for work authorization, must be the spouse of an H-1B worker who:

  • Is the beneficiary of an approved Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker; or
  • Has received an extension beyond his or her 6th year of H-1B status based on having a labor certification (also known as the “PERM”) filed at least 365 days prior to the end of the 6th year of his or her H-1B.

USCIS believes that this change in the regulations could affect approximately 179,600 individuals during this first year and then 55,000 annually. It also believes that this change will “reduce certain disincentives that currently lead H-1B nonimmigrants to abandon efforts to remain in the United States“ and will “support the U.S. economy because the contributions H-1B nonimmigrants make to entrepreneurship and science help promote economic grown and job creation.”

H-4 applicants that will benefit from this change in the regulations should remember that applications for employment authorization will not be accepted until May 26, 2015. If you believe that you or your spouse may benefit from this regulation, please contact the attorneys at Minsky, McCormick & Hallagan, P.C. to schedule a consultation.

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