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H4 EAD: Eligibility Criteria, Documents Checklist & EAD Renewal
April 17, 2022
4 mins
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In this blog, we have discussed in detail the following topics on H4 EAD:

  • Eligibility Criteria for H4 EAD.
  • Documents Checklist for H4 EAD.
  • EAD Renewal Process Documents.

What is H4 EAD & its Eligibility Criteria?

The H4 EAD or Employment Authorization Document is a visa given to the parent or spouse of an H1B visa holder. The H4 visa is not allowed for any other visa type like H1B1, H2A, H2B, or H3. Issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, the H4 Visa EAD allows the spouse of H1B non-immigrant holders to live and work in the USA.

The H4 EAD rule came into effect on May 26, 2015. It was mainly implemented to retain highly skilled foreign employees and minimize business interruptions related to H1B workers leaving the US. So, are all H1B holders allowed to bring their respective spouses to live and work in the US? While that is the general rule, there are some eligibility criteria to fulfill to be a valid H4 holder. Continue reading for the better understanding of H4 EAD requirements, but before that we suggest you to first learn all about H1B visa.

H4 EAD Requirements for Eligibility

According to the USCIS, to bring your spouse into the US as an H4 holder, you must be an H1B holder who is:

  • The principal beneficiary of a valid Form I-140 and Immigration Petition for Alien Worker.
  • Given an H1B status as per Sections 106 A and B of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act of 2000 as modified by the 21st century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act or AC21. Under the AC21, non-immigrants with H1B visas who seek permanent residence can continue working after the six-year limit.

Points to remember:

    • Your spouse cannot apply for H4 visa without an approved Form I-140.
    • If the USCIS revokes your I-140 due to some reason, your spouse's H4 EAD will also be revoked.
    • The USCIS rejects any H4 applications stating non-eligibility if all the above criteria are not fulfilled.

Documentation Checklist for H4 EAD

If your spouse is eligible, you can submit your H4 EAD Application along with the required documents and fees.

To apply for an H4 EAD, your spouse will need the following documents:

      • Form I-765 or Application for Employment Authorization.
      • Application fee receipt.
      • Form I-94 copy to show your spouse is living in the USA with an H-4 visa.
      • Form I-539 and I-797 prove the extension of your spouse's stay in the USA.
      • Two identical photos with Form I-94 number written on the back of the photos with a pencil.
      • Marriage certificate as proof of relationship with the valid H-1B holder.
      • A copy of the H-1B holder's Form I-140.
      • Approval notice copy if the I-140 is not approved yet.
      • Copies of the H-1B holder's Form I-129, I-797.
      • Copy of the current and previous Forms I-94.
      • Copies of the H-1B holder's current passport and old passports.
      • Form G-1145, E-notification or Application/Petition Acceptance to receive electronic notification. This form should be attached to the first page of your application.
      • Proof that the PERM Certification or Form I-140 was filed a year before then H1B holder's visa reached the six-year duration. Copy of the letter with the DOL or Department of Labor could be submitted in this regard.

Your spouse can also submit any secondary evidence if they do not have the evidence for the following:

      • Proof of legal status.
      • Proof of relationship or work authorization basis.

The USCIS also accepts their recently filed Form I-129, the extension of stay, or the receipt number of the approved Form I-140 for a work authorization basis.

Also Read: All You Need to Know About H4 Visa Extension

Document for H4 EAD Extension

To apply for an H4 EAD Extension, your spouse must file Form I-539 and the Application to Extend or Change Non-Immigration Status, along with the following

      • Copy of most recent Form I-94.
      • Spouse or parent's most recent Form I-94.
      • Notice of approval and copies of Form I-129 and I-797.
      • Proof of relationship with the H1B holder (Marriage certificate for spouses and birth certificate for parents).

What is EAD Renewal?

If your spouse already holds an H4 EAD, they can extend or renew it along with the following documents:

      • A copy of their previous EAD.
      • Valid passport containing their full name and one photo.
      • Certificate of birth with a photo.
      • National documents containing fingerprints and a photograph.
      • Visa from any foreign country.

If any of the above-mentioned documents are missing, you can also file any one of the following documents which you can use as secondary evidence:

      • Receipt number for I-129 of the H-1B visa holder while requesting an H1B extension.
      • Receipt number of the H1B visa holder's approved Form I-140.

Points to note for native language documents

If you are an H-4 EAD applicant from another country, your documents may be in your native language. It is important to be aware that USCIS or any other US agency will not accept documents in any languages other than English. In that case, you should:

      • Hire an authorized translator to translate the documents to English.
      • Notarize all translated documents to ensure that they are properly translated and genuine.

Closing Note

Upon receiving the EAD, your spouse will obtain Form I-766, thereby allowing them to work in the US. I-766 is required for employment, without which they cannot qualify for a job. It could be quite challenging to work in the U.S. on an H4 visa because the future of the EAD program was unclear at that time. However, the H4 EAD is still a great opportunity for your spouse to live with you and work in the US.

Arm Yourself with better information with TechFetch H1B

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**Disclaimer: All information regarding H1B visa processing and H4 visa processing is subject to change. Kindly refer to the USCIS official website for more information.

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Article by Techfetch H1B team

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