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H4 EAD - Frequently Asked Questions
April 28, 2022
10 mins
Surface view of Employee Authorization Card identity card of the United States of America covered by the US flag

H4 EAD: Explore the Latest FAQs

If you are a beginner who has just embarked your journey towards obtaining H4 EAD, we recommend you to read H4 EAD - Useful Insights for the better understanding of the entire process.

1. Is it possible to apply H4 EAD for my children under 21 years of age?

No, children are not eligible for H4 EAD. Only the spouse of a valid H1B holder is eligible to apply for H4 EAD. Minor children holding an H4 visa cannot work even if they are old enough to do so.

2. What kind of jobs can an H4 EAD holder do?

With an approved EAD, one can hold any job in any sector without connection to their H1B spouse's experience, skills, and education. To hold a job with an EAD, the applicant need not have any specialized skills or be a professional in their job. There is also no restriction or requirement that the H4 spouse should hold a degree.

3. In accordance with the final H-4 EAD rule, who is eligible for H-4 work authorization?

Under the final H4 EAD rule, there are only two types of H4 spouses eligible for work authorization where:

  • The primary H1B employee spouse has a valid I-140, but a visa number of immigrants is unavailable.
  • The H1B spouse has obtained a 7th year or more H-1B visa extension as permitted by the sections 106(a) and (b) under 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.

4. Should I remain in the US to apply for my EAD?

Yes, you must remain in the US to maintain your H4 status and apply for the Employment Authorization Document.

5. Is it okay for me to travel outside the US when my H4 EAD is pending?

Although you can technically travel outside, the USCIS recommends you not to do so to be available to visit the application centers. You should also be able to handle the receipt notices and the Reference for Evidence if you receive an RFE notice and need to provide additional documentation. In case there is no RFE, you should get the H4 EAD card in your mail.

6. Is my H4 EAD card tied to any specific I-140?

H4 EAD cards are not tied to any particular petition, but they rather indicate that a petition exists in your spouse's name.Therefore, you can still file for an extension or renew your H4 EAD even when your spouse finds a new job and has a new Form I-140 applied in their name.

7. What is the process to renew my H4 EAD?

You can renew your EAD by filing for a new Form I-765 petition within hundred and eighty days of your EADs expiry and as long as your spouse's H1B is still valid. If the USCIS has received your new Form I-765 before the expiration date of the current EAD and if you still qualify for employment authorization, the USCIS automatically extends the EAD for 180 days.

8. Is it possible to simultaneously file the following:

Yes, of course. Nevertheless, for your H4 EAD to be processed and approved, you must get your H1B and H4 applications approved.

9. Should I always seek my attorney's help to apply for an H4 EAD, or can I do it online?

You cannot apply for an EAD online, nor do you need to seek your attorney's help. You can apply for it yourself.

10. What is the time taken to process an EAD?

Generally, EADs take 70-90 days to process, although the processing time for each case depends on the service center handling the petition. The center will process the EAD only if your H4 status is approved. The 90-day EAD processing time begins the day your H4 is approved.

11. What should I do if I lose my EAD?

If your EAD is lost, stolen, destroyed, or damaged, you can file a new Form I-765 and have it replaced.

12. What is the validity period of my H4 EAD?

Your H4 EAD's validity is tied to your spouse's H1B validity, an initial period of three years, and an extension for another three years. You have to apply for an H4 and EAD renewal when your spouse applies for their H1B renewal.

13. What is the fee for H4 EAD?

To submit an H4 EAD application, you must submit the DS-160, which costs about $190. If you wish to file for EAD, you must also submit Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization which costs $410. Your biometric appointment will cost an additional $85, which brings the total expense to $495.

14. Can I use my EAD to enter the USA?

The EAD can only be used to work while living in the US. It cannot be used as a document to enter the US. If you want to exit the country and reenter, you need a valid and current passport and a valid H4 visa or additional travel documents.

15. What is the limit for the number of EADs issued?

Fortunately, there's no limit to the number of EADs issued. So, you need not worry about your EAD being rejected for that reason.

Also Read: H4 EAD & its Significance to Dependent Spouses

16. When can I start working after attaining my H4 EAD?

You can start working only after the USCIS approves their I-765 and after you've received your EAD card.

17. What will happen if my H1B spouse is laid off from their job?

If your H1B spouse loses their job, they will be considered "out of status." Fortunately, they have a 60-day grace period to acquire a new job. If they do not find a job within 60 days, they will be considered out of status, and your EAD will also become invalid.

18. What happens if my H1B spouse's I-140 is revoked?

If your spouse's I-140 is revoked while your H4 EAD is still pending, you will no longer be considered for an EAD unless your spouse is eligible for a one-year extension.

However, if your spouse's I-140 is revoked after your EAD has been approved, your EAD will remain valid and not be automatically approved. The USCIS has not revoked any EADs because the I-140 was revoked.

19. Can I apply for my green card while on H4 EAD?

You can register for a Green Card with a valid H4 EAD. This provision has been made available since 2015.

20. Are there other alternatives for H4 EAD?

There are several alternatives for an H4 EAD. Firstly, you can obtain an O-1 or an H1B visa to fulfil the required qualifications. In case you are a Mexican or Canadian citizen, you can file for a TN visa. Another option is for your spouse to change their visa status to allow you to work, such as an E or O class visa. However, changing one's status can be tricky, especially when you have an approved I-140 pending with USCIS.

21. Can I start a business on an H4 visa?

The EAD does not have any restrictions. It allows you to work for any employer, run a business, and even hire individuals to work for you. The only contingency is that your spouse's H1B should be valid.

22. Is there Premium Processing for H4 EAD?

No, Premium Processing is not available for H4 EAD. It is only available for I-129 and I-140 petitions.

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**Disclaimer: All H4 EAD processes are subject to change. Kindly refer to the USCIS website for the latest updates.

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