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On May 26, the USCIS will begin accepting applications for form I-765 Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) submitted by certain H-4 spouses of H-1B professionals.
What follows is a list of answers to 10 of the most frequently asked questions about this new policy:
1. Which H-4 spouses are eligible for EADs?
H-4 spouses of H-1B professionals with approved I-140 visa petitions or who is the beneficiary of a PERM application or an I-140 which was filed at least 365 days before the expiration of his or her 6-year limitation of stay as an H-1B nonimmigrant. If the PERM application was approved, the I-140 must have been filed with the USCIS within 180 days.
2. What forms do I need to file?
File form I-765 with proof of your H-4 status, show that your spouse is in H-1B status and has an approved I-140 or that a PERM application or I-140 was filed over 1 year before the ending of the 6th year of the H-1B. The filing fee is $380. If you are filing for an H-4 extension, you may apply for an EAD concurrently.
3. How long will my EAD be valid?
Be sure to request that your EAD last for as long as your H-4 status is valid.
4. Are there any limits on my employment?
No, you can work in any type of lawful employment. You can even work for multiple employers if you wish. You can change jobs at any time. You can start your own business. You can stop working at any time. You can work as a salaried employee, an hourly employee or a contractor.
5. What if my spouse and I are both in H-1B status? Can I change to H-4 status and request an EAD at the same time?
Yes, as long as you meet the eligibility requirements discussed in Question #1 above. Your employer will probably be delighted not to have to submit and pay for an H-1B extension for you.
6. How early am I allowed to submit my H-4 extension and EAD application?
You can concurrently submit your H-4 extension and EAD application 6 months prior to the expiration date of your H-4 status.
7. How long will it take for me to receive an EAD?
An EAD should be issued within 90 days. However, if you are applying for an H-4 and an EAD simultaneously, the waiting time will be longer.
8. What if my spouse no longer works for the employer who filed his/her approved I-140?
This fact alone should not prevent you from obtaining an EAD. A 2000 law commonly referred to as AC-21 permits a person in H-1B status with an approved I-140 and a pending I-485 to change employers after his/her I-485 has been pending for 180 days or more as long as his/her new job is in the same or a similar occupation. No new PERM or I-140 is required. However, even if this is not the case, you will still be permitted to obtain an EAD. Your spouse will be able to retain the old priority date, but his/her new employer may have to file a new PERM application and an I-140 visa petition.
9. Can I use premium processing to apply for an EAD? Can I file my application online? Is it possible for an H-4 child of a parent in H-1B status to apply for an EAD?
The answer is no to each of these questions.
10. Approximately how many H-4 spouses will be able to qualify for EADs?
The USCIS estimates up to 179,600 H-4 spouses will be eligible to apply for EADs during the first year of this program, and 55,000 in each subsequent year. The new program does not distinguish between cap-subject and cap-exempt H-1Bs.
Updated 05-26-2015 at 04:13 PM by CShusterman
On June 5, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson announced the process for persons who have received work permits (EADs) under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programs to renew their DACA status and work permits for another 2 years. Also, in this article, we describe the process by which persons in DACA status can obtain green cards.
Since the summer of 2012, over 560,000 persons who entered the United States as children have obtaining lawful status through the DACA program. However, later this year and next, their status is due to expire.
The DHS has unveiled the process for them to extend their DACA status and EADs in the U.S.
They must begin by completing the newly-reissued form I-821D, Consideration for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, plus form I-765 for a new EAD (along with a filing fee for $465) as well as the I-765 worksheet. They must also submit their fingerprints and photos. The DHS will conduct a background check.
In order to maintain eligibility for DACA, an applicant must:
Not have departed the U.S. since August 15, 2012 unless they did so pursuant to a grant of “advance parole”;Not have been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor or three or more misdemeanors; andNot pose a threat to national security or public safety.
USCIS reminds applicants to submit their renewal applications at least 120 days before their current DACA application is due to expire. However, it may be prudent to do so 180 days before the expiry date.
From DACA to Green Card
Since many persons with DACA cards entered the U.S. “without inspection”, they have been told that it is impossible to become a lawful permanent residents of the U.S. because they did not enter the U.S. legally.
However, this is not necessarily true.
Persons with DACA card are eligible to apply for permission to travel outside the U.S. under the following circumstances:
If you obtain “advance parole” to travel abroad, be aware that when you return to the U.S., you last admission to the U.S. is lawful.
Therefore, should you marry your U.S. citizen fiancé, you can immediately apply for a green card. The whole procedure takes place in the U.S. and is usually completed within a matter of months.
Updated 06-05-2014 at 03:27 PM by CShusterman