H-4 Spouses eligible for Employment Authorization?

As part of efforts strengthen entrepreneurship domestically, the White House announced this week that DHS will soon publish regulations allowing the spouses of certain H-1B workers to apply for work authorization. This proposed rule has been undergoing regulatory review since 2012, but no concrete regulations have been issued thus far. The proposed rule would apply to H-4 visa holders whose H-1B spouses are in the process of applying for employment-based permanent residence, and whose H-1B status has been extended beyond the initial six-year limit based on the American Competitiveness in the 21st Century Act (AC21). Eligible H-4 applicants would who apply for work authorization would be issued an Employment Authorization Document (EAD card). Specific details concerning the application process, such as filing fees, processing times, and period of eligible authorization, have yet to be announced by DHS.

Given that the H-4 work authorization rule has been pending since 2012, this week’s announcement by the Obama administration is encouraging; however, the press release did not provide an expected timeframe for DHS’s final publication of the rule, beyond stating that it would be “soon.” Please continue checking this website for updates on progress of this matter.


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.