U.S. to provide work permits to spouses of H-1B visa holders from May 26


Marching ahead with President Obama’s executive action on immigration reform the Homeland Security Department announced on Tuesday that as of May 26, it will begin granting work permits to the spouses of H-1B visa holders – skilled foreign workers who are seeking permanent resident status in the U.S.

Under existing laws, spouses of H-1B visa holders, many of whom are Indians, are not eligible to work legally.

Who is eligible?

Eligible individuals include certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants who:

  • Are the principal beneficiaries of an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker; or
  • Have been granted H-1B (nonimmigrants seeking lawful permanent residence to work) status permitting to remain in the United States beyond the six-year limit on their H-1B status.

“Allowing the spouses of these visa holders to legally work in the United States makes perfect sense. It helps U.S. businesses keep their highly skilled workers by increasing the chances these workers will choose to stay in this country during the transition from temporary workers to permanent residents. It also provides more economic stability and better quality of life for the affected families.”

– León Rodríguez, Director (USCIS)

How to apply for spouse work permit (EAD)?

H-1B Spouses can start applying for work visa from May 26, 2015 with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Under the rule, eligible H-4 dependent spouses:

  • must file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, with supporting evidence and
  • the required $380 fee in order to obtain employment authorization and

When can dependent spouse start working?

Once USCIS approves the Form I-765 and the H-4 dependent spouse receives an I-766, Employment Authorization Document (EAD), he or she may begin working in the United States.

USCIC, a division of DHS, estimates that as many as 179,000 foreigners will be eligible to apply for employment authorization under the new rule in the first year and 55,000 annually in subsequent years.”