The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has conclusively determined and communicated to the District Court of Columbia that H4 EAD holders are not a threat to American workers and therefore, the 2015 law that allows spouses of H1-B visa holders to work pursuant to work authorization should not be rescinded in the US. H-4 dependents are the dependent spouses of H-1B, H-2A, H-2B, and H-3 holders in the U.S.

H-4 holders in many instances are equally as educated as their H-1B spouses and permitting such individuals to work pursuant to Employment Authorization Documents (EAD) is governed by rules including their H-1B spouses’ valid status in the US and if the H-1B spouse has had the second stage towards the employment based permanent resident status approved.

DHS’s response in support of the H4 EAD rule was submitted in relation to a lawsuit filed by an advocacy group called Save Jobs USA that claimed that H4 EAD holders will take away local jobs. However, the DHS presented its extensive findings in court that the 100,000 (approx.) employed under H4 EAD visa holders did not adversely impact the job opportunities available to the local American work force. The US District Court of Columbia is yet to make its final ruling.

In consideration of the Coronavirus pandemic, and the continued flexibility offered by USCIS due to restrictive norms around social distancing, USCIS just announced that the entity will continue to process valid applications for EAD through Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization extensions. Processing continues for any newly filed eligible H4 EAD applications as well. USCIS also announced in May that in order to continue processing EADs and their extension applications, USCIS will be reusing previously submitted biometrics for the same. This is applicable to all Forms I-765 Application for Employment Authorization extensions submitted on or after March 18, 2020 or had an appointment for the same after this date.

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