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H4 EAD Automatic Extension
April 22, 2022
3 mins
An enlarged macro of the stamp on the passport for the H4 Visa.

In this article, you will learn about:

  • H4 EAD eligibility requirements
  • Ways to obtain an extended I-94

As we get ready to explore the H4 EAD Automatic Extension, we also recommend you spend a little time to understand more about the dependent H4 visa and H4 EAD.

THANKS TO THE FEDERAL LITIGATION, the USCIS has agreed to grant automatic 180-day extensions for H4 visa holders who file the Employment Authorization Document on time. The USCIS has officially released a policy alert outlining these changes, which take effect on November 12, 2021. USCIS has extended H4 EAD timeline for the Automatic Extension of 180 days to H4 beneficiaries to reduce the waiting time for EAD extensions for these work-eligible spouses. Individuals can get an automatic extension of their Employment Authorization Document (EAD) before it expires, and their extension will be automatically extended. This generally lasts for 180 days unless USCIS denies the renewal application.

H4 EAD Requirements for H4 EAD Extension

Some applicants may have filed Form I-765 or Application for Employment Authorization. These applicants will qualify for automatic extensions for the EADs for upto hundred and eighty days if the Form I-765 for a renewal of EAD before their current EAD expires.

If you are otherwise eligible for renewal, it means that:

  • Your EAD renewal falls under an automatically eligible category for a 180-day extension.
  • Your current EAD category matches the Class Requested listed on your Form I-797 C Notice of Action.

To be noted if you are a TPS beneficiary or a pending applicant: Your Notice of Action and your EAD must contain either the C19 or A12 category, but both categories should not match each other. For L-2, E, and H4 dependent spouses, you must submit an unexpired Form I-94 indicating their non-immigrant status along with Form I-797 C. This process is done to prevent gaps in employment documentation and authorization.

Also Read: H4 EAD - Frequently Asked Questions

How To Obtain an Extended I-94

For the automatic extension of H4 EAD, all H4 spouses must have a valid Form I-94. There are two ways to obtain an I-94. You can:

  • Use Premium Processing to file the H1B extension and await the H1B approval. Your H4 spouse can leave the US and return with an extended I-94 on a new visa. Your spouse can file for the EAD extension after returning to the US.
  • File the H1B Extension, H4, and EAD extensions simultaneously. Once your H1B is approved, your spouse can leave the US and return with a fresh visa and an extended I-94. The request for status extension and Form I-539 can be abandoned. However, Form I-765 will continue to be processed by the USCIS.

For E-dependent spouses:
Spouses entering the US on an E-dependent for two years will already have an extended I-94. In case the I-94 is expiring, they can follow one of the above processes to obtain an extended I-94.

Is Automatic Extension Available for H4 EAD First Timers?

No, an automatic extension is not available for first-time H4 EADs. This facility is available only for EAD renewals. If you are an H4 holder, you must apply for an EAD and wait until you receive it to start lawfully working in the US.

EAD Extension Verification
Employees should be notified when their automatic extensions end, not later than the date that their work authorizations expire. Any document demonstrating continued employment authorization can be presented before the automatic extension expires to re-verify employees.

Connect with TechFetch H1B
Are you in the process of getting an H4 EAD Automatic Extension? Visit our TechFetch H1B website to gather more information related to H4 EAD and H1B.

**Disclaimer: All H1B processes are subject to change. Kindly refer to the USCIS website for the latest updates.

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Article by Techfetch H1B team

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