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H4 EAD Tracking & Status Check
April 28, 2022
10 mins
Credit card,wallet,pen,specs and USCIS forms I-765 application for employment authorization lies on a flat wooden table

In this article, we have discussed the following topics regarding H4 EAD:

  • H4 EAD Process and Timeline
  • Ways to track your EAD
  • Meaning of processing statuses

A Brief Introduction to the H4 EAD Process

What is the EAD? The EAD or Employment Authorization Document is a work permit granted by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which entitles H4 Holders to live and work in the US. Most H4 holders who are dependents of H1B holders apply for an EAD if they fulfill the eligibility criteria given by the USCIS.
The EAD process comprises the following steps:

  • Completion of Form I-765
  • Packaging the H4 EAD application with supporting documents
  • Forwarding the package to the correct USCIS address
  • Receiving the H4 EAD receipt from the USCIS
  • USCIS Processing the H4 EAD
  • Receiving the EAD card

H4 EAD Benefits

H4 EAD holders enjoy several benefits, in addition to employment authorization. These include:

  • An SSN allotted to your name.
  • No-bar on employment opportunities.
  • No restrictive standards of minimum wage.

Above everything else, the USCIS does not place limitations on the number of EADs issued for H4 holders every year.

The EAD Processing Timeline

The timeline or processing time for EAD applications that are filed on Form I-765 varies for different employment authorizations. If the EAD application status reads 'Card is sent for printing', you can expect your EAD card within 5-7 days. If the USCIS issues a Request For Evidence, the processing time will take at least 2 to 3 months after you've filed the requested evidence with the USCIS. The duration starts from when the USCIS gets your response for the RFE.

Point to Note: Please ensure that your primary H1B or L visa has a six-month validity period before you proceed with the H4 EAD dependant application. There are certain RFEs that could otherwise affect your application if this period of validity is not available on your primary visa.

If the case takes more time than other cases, you should ask USCIS for an update of the status. This is called "outside normal processing time".

Is Automatic Extension on Employment Authorization Document (EAD) Allowed?

There is a provision for an automatic 180-day extension in the EAD if the applicant meets the following requirements:

  • Your EAD renewal form I-765 was correctly filled and submitted before the expiry of your current form.
  • There is a provision in your EAD that make you eligible for automatic renewal.
  • The ‘Class Requested’ you filled out in your I-797 C NOA form is the same as your current EAD category.

Automatic EAD Extension

USCIS usually mandates that EAD extension applications be submitted at least 180 days before expiration. However, they have made provisions for holders of several categories of EAD to continue engaging in employment, even if there is a delay in EAD extension while their current one expires.

Some scenarios that allow for this include:

  • You have a pending i485 - In this case, you are considered eligible for an automatic extension of 180 days on your EAD. Alternatively, you can apply for an interim card until you get the new EAD approved.
Point to Note: Certain EAD categories are not eligible for automatic renewal, like the H4 EAD, or the L2 EAD. The general instructions given for automatic renewal on the i765 do not apply to certain categories like the C(26).

Automatic Extension - Temporary Provision for Increase Upto 540 Days

A 180-day extension from the date of expiry is the usual allowance that DHS makes for EAD extension. Still, they have made a new provision for an additional 360-day period to be allowed for eligible applicants. As of the 4th of May, 2022, the DHS will allow for a 540-day renewal if applicants meet certain criteria. The new period will kick in from the date of expiry of the previous EAD once the approval is done. Eligibility criteria for this temporary extension include:

  • Form i-765 renewal application was filed prior to 4th May 2022, with a 180-automatic extension expired.
  • Form i-765 renewal application was filed prior to 4th May 2022, with a 180-automatic extension that has not yet expired.
  • Form i-765 renewal application was filed between 4th May 2022 and 26th October 2023, including the mentioned dates.

EAD renewal applications filed post 26th October 2023 will fall within the previous extension allowance of 180 days.

How to Track your H4 EAD

When the USCIS receives the H4 EAD petition, it will send a receipt number. Using the receipt number, you can:

  • Create a Case Status Online account to receive automatic case updates, including your United States Postal Service tracking number when USCIS mails your Card.
  • Sign up for Informed Delivery through USPS to receive daily images of the mail you receive. You can do the following with informed delivery:
  1. Automatically keep track the of packages you are expecting.
  2. Set up notifications for emails and text alerts.
  3. Enter the USPS delivery instructions for your mail carrier.

Upon receiving your package, the USCIS sends a receipt notice with a 13-digit receipt number. Using this 13-digit number, you can check your case status online by:

  • Logging in to the USCIS case status page.
  • Entering your 13-digit receipt number.
  • Viewing your status by clicking on the Check Status button.

It is only fair that you would want to know your H4 EAD status while it is being processed. Fortunately, with the USCIS online facilities at your disposal, you can stay updated about each process stage. Here's how you can track your H4 EAD status.

Options to Check H4 EAD Tracking Status

Option 1: Sign up to track your status

Use the case status online account to signup and track the status of your EAD request. Once you signup, you will be receiving all the updates.

Option 2: Using USPS to track your delivery

Your EAD card will be mailed to you and a United States Postal Service (USPS) number will be generated. With this number, you can track your Card using the same account. You can get a digital preview of your mail by signing up for this service with your USPS number. Besides receiving regular alerts and updates, you can track packages and view grayscale images of products.

USCIS processes all EAD applications according to the usual processing times for the same form. USCIS will send the H4 EAD card once the application has been processed and approved. The Card will have the C26 category listed on it. It is also known as an EAD card or I-766 form.

How Long Does EAD Delivery Take?

The DHS projects an H4 EAD processing time of between two to six months, though it usually goes through faster. Following the H4 EAD status tracking, you will find that it usually ranges between a month and a half to two months for EAD application status to go from ‘Application Received’ to ‘New Card Being Processed.’ This update marks the beginning of approval. Seven working days is the usual duration for the ‘Card was Mailed to Me’ EAD status to appear. Now it should be no more than seven to ten days for EAD delivery.

Also Read: The Various Ways to Raise an H4 EAD Expedite Request

The e-Request Portal of the USCIS

The USCIS has an e-request portal that provides limited functions, including case or service requests about:

  • Case not following normal processing time.
  • Notice not received in the mail.
  • Card not received by mail.
  • Address modifications.
  • Accommodation availability for scheduled appointments.
  • Errors like typos, etc.

Using the e-portal for any of these requests or inquiries will require you to input basic case information, including case number and date of application, documentation as evidence, and other relevant inclusions. You will receive a response by email.

Factors to Consider

To ensure that the EAD card reaches you without any delays, here are a few points to take note of, once you have understood the use of the H4 EAD tracker USCIS:

  • If you see a ‘Delivered’ status on the H4 EAD tracker, it may point to an error in the address details submitted. Your first step should be to visit your local post office, where the card would have been delivered, and make inquiries.
  • In a situation where your delivery address changes just after you submit your application, there are chances that delivery delays may occur; your best move would be to update the change in address and make sure it reflects as soon as any such changes occur. This will reduce the chances of problems like delays or loss cropping up.
  • If there is a possibility that you will not be available at the delivery address when your card arrives, you have the option of assigning an individual as a receiver agent who will receive the card when it arrives. USPS has a Standing Delivery Order form you can fill up for this purpose.
  • There is a secure process in USPS delivery called the Signature Confirmation Restricted Delivery system, requiring authorized identification from the recipient to be able to get the card. It is meant to be a safeguard against delivery errors.

H4 EAD Tracker Statuses: What do The Different Statuses Mean?

The online tracking system will update the status of the H-4 EAD process as it happens. By reading the updated status, you will know where exactly your EAD petition stands. Here are the four possible statuses and what they mean:

1. We received your Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization

It is the first status update you will find on the tracker page. As it implies, the status means that your application is received and will be processed soon.

2. We approved your Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization

This status indicates that your application has undergone the initial processing stages and that your EAD card will be produced soon.

3. A new card is being produced

This status indicated that your EAD application had been approved, and your Card had been sent for printing.

4. We mailed your new Card to the address you gave us

This status is one of the final updates that indicate the EAD card is sent to the address mentioned in your petition. You can use the USPS tracking number to track the status online when you receive this petition. The US Postal Service is responsible for the Card from this point onwards. You can expect the H4 EAD Card to be delivered to you when you see this status.

You can also track your H4 EAD status via:

  • Phone
  • Mail
  • In-person

You can also signup to receive free Automated Case Status updates.

Avail the information from Techfetch H1B

Do you want expert guidance to better understand how H4 EAD Tracker USCIS works? Please visit TechFetch H1B  to clear all your queries and doubts. We offer you an in-depth knowledge of all the H1B, and H4 processes information.

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

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