Employment Authorization for Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses

The Department of Homeland Security’s proposal to extend the availability of employment authorization to H-4 dependent spouses of principal H-1B non-immigrants who have begun the process of seeking lawful permanent resident status through employment after meeting a minimum period of H-1B status in the U.S. is currently undergoing Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) Executive Order (EO) 12866 Regulatory Review.

The proposal will only benefit H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B non-immigrants who have extended their stay beyond the six year limit under sections 104(c) or 106(a) of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act of 2000 (AC21) and is intended to mitigate some of the negative economic effects of limiting H-1B households to one income during lengthy waiting periods in the adjustment of status process.

EO 12866 Regulatory Review is a lengthy and uncertain process. The proposal will be analyzed for its costs and benefits and action will be taken only on the basis of a reasoned determination that the benefits justify the costs. EO 12866 Regulatory Review is limited to 90 days, although the review period may be extended indefinitely under Executive Order. While the proposed regulatory change is promising, it will take some time before the OIRA reaches a decision on the proposal.


Reddy & Neumann, P.C. is an immigration law firm in Houston, Texas. For over 15 years, our firm has successfully represented corporate clients across the United States in their efforts to bring foreign workers and business professionals to the United States. Our experienced team of immigration lawyers in Houston & Dallas advises clients throughout the H-1B visa application process, including responding to various requests for evidence and consular processing issues. From filing, through approval, and on to appeal, we do everything possible to ensure that your company can bring the best and brightest in the world to the United States.