On Feb. 24, 2015 the Department of Homeland Security issued a final rule providing for employment authorization for certain H-4 dependent spouses. This is one of the most significant changes to employment-based immigration to occur in many years.

Who is eligible? Only certain H-4 dependents of H-1B nonimmigrants are eligible for employment authorization. The benefit is limited to H-4 dependent spouses (i.e., not children) of H-1B nonimmigrants who are the principal beneficiaries of an approved Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker (Form I-140), or who have been granted H-1B status in the United States under the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000 (AC21), generally by exhausting six years of H-1B eligibility and being the beneficiary of an I-140 which is retrogressed or a labor certification that has been pending with the government for at least one year.

When does the H-4 employment authorization rule take effect? DHS will begin accepting Applications for Employment Authorization (Forms I-765) submitted by eligible H-4 dependent spouses on May 25, 2015.

Continue Reading Work Authorization for (Some, But Not All) H-4 Visa Holders