H4 EAD Documents, Sample new Application and Renewals


H4 EAD Sample I765 application form, document list, fees $410. Q16- C26, Q18- H1B primary I797 Receipt num. 90 days for EAD card to start job or business.


H4 EAD is an H4 Employment Authorization Document (EAD) that allows H4 visa holders to work legally and that too without any employer restriction in USA. They can even start a business, employ other people and work in possibly any industry or job function. The work category can be anything and has nothing to do with the primary H1B’s job description.

Can H4 Work in USA?: Yes, they can, if they can are eligible for H4 EAD. Without getting this EAD, they cannot.

As far as H4 EAD jobs are concerned, you are allowed to anything or everything that you can do.

H4 EAD USCIS and DHS H4 EAD mean the same thing in the sense that you get the authorization to work in the US. In the real sense, your H4 EAD application goes to USCIS and not to DHS.

At the time of H4 EAD proposed rule making by USCIS in 2015, there was a lawsuit filed by an organization aimed to protect US jobs, but it did not yield any results. H4 EAD has been received by lot of H1B spouses and they have been working to support their families. H4 visa is no longer considered a curse!

This article aims at helping you with filling the H4 EAD application form (I-765 form), collecting the supporting documents, creating an application package and mailing.


H4 EAD Eligibilty


Spouses of H-1B visa holders who meet the following criteria:

  • Are in valid H-4 status.
    • Are able to provide evidence of the H-1B visa holder’s approved I-140, Immigrant Petition. This I-140 can be from any U.S. employer and must not be revoked or withdrawn; OR
    • Are working in the US in your 7th year of H-1B status because you have a PERM application that was filed before end of your 5th year of H-1B status.

Documents required for H4 EAD application


The official USCIS list of documents is available here.

The most common set of documents and their order is

  1. A check for $410. Check for H4-EAD application should be payable to

    U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

    No short forms like USCIS or anything else.

  2. 2 Identical photographs (2×2 Inch). If you have photos that you might have got clicked in India for US visa interview, you can use them here.
    Write your NAME and i94 number on the back of the photograph with a light gray colored pencil. You can write SSN or Alien registration number, if you have them.

    Photographs should have been clicked within last 30 days.

    I have seen people submitting old pictures too, if the appearance (like fattening of face) has not changed a lot. It has worked but official USCIS instructions are to submit pictures clicked within last 30 days.

  3. Form G1145 – This is needed if you want USCIS to send you a SMS or an email once they receive your application.Use this form and attach at top of the application package.
  4. Completed I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. Sample I-765 form for H4-EAD is given below.
  5. Supporting Documents

    1. H4 Status:
      • Copy of H-4 visa holder’s I-797 Approval.
      • Most recent i-94 copy.
    2. A government-issued identification document with photo
      • Copy of Indian Passport’s front (with Photo) and back pages (with address).
      • Copy of USA H4 Visa stamp page from Passport.
    3. Relationship to the H-1B nonimmigrant: Copy of the marriage certificate issued in India or your country.
    4. Your basis for eligibility: Copy of I-797 approval notice for I-140.

Sample I765 form for H4 EAD Application


 

 H4 EAD i765 Sample Form

You can use this sample form. Just replace the values with your own and take a print out.The link opens in a new browser window.

A sample image is available here for your reference:

H4 EAD USCIS i-765 form sample

H4 EAD USCIS i-765 form sample – Click for larger view

Most of the points on this form are self-explanatory. I have heard the most confusion about Question 13, 16, 17 and 18. Here are the answers.

Question 13: Place of Last entry into the US?


You should enter the name of the Airport that you entered in US on your most recent entry. This should be recorded on your most recent i94 as well.

For example, Newark International Airport.


For some people, this airport might be a non-US airport like the ones coming from Abu Dhabi. They normally complete the US immigration process at Abu-Dhabi airport itself.

I would suggest to write either the “Port of Entry/Exit” as “MAA – ABU DHABI INTL” or the name of the US airport where you landed first.

For example, if you landed in Washington Airport after completing immigration process at Abu Dhabi airport, your i94 record will show the “MAA – ABU DHABI INTL” as the port of entry.
You can then either write “Washington Airport” or “MAA – ABU DHABI INTL”.

I think either option would be fine.

How should H-4 EAD applicants respond to Question 16 on Form I-765?


C26 is the correct answer.

Should my spouse answer Question 17 on Form I-765?


No. You can write ‘N/A’.

What is the answer to Question 18 on Form I-765 for H4-EAD? Which receipt number should I write? I have two receipt, one is H1B approval and other is i-140 Approval?


Q 18 is a new question just added to the revised I-765 specifically for H4-EAD applications.

You have to enter the H1B primary person’s most recent I-797 receipt number here.

You can find this receipt number on the I-797 form itself (page 1, top section), it you have the approved copy with you.

Please note that this is NOT the I-140 approval receipt number.



Documents required for H4 EAD RENEWAL application


I would strongly recommend to apply for your H4 EAD renewal well before 120 days of expiry. USCIS does not allow you to apply earlier than 120 days and hence, you have no choice.
These 120 days include weekend and holidays too.

The official USCIS list of documents is available here.

The most common set of documents and their order is

  1. A check for $410. Check for H4-EAD application should be payable to

    U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

    No short forms like USCIS or anything else.

  2. 2 Identical photographs (2×2 Inch). If you have photos that you might have got clicked in India for US visa interview, you can use them here.
    Write your NAME and i94 number on the back of the photograph with a light gray colored pencil. You can write SSN or Alien registration number, if you have them.

    Photographs should have been clicked within last 30 days.

    I have seen people submitting old pictures too, if the appearance (like fattening of face) has not changed a lot. It has worked but official USCIS instructions are to submit pictures clicked within last 30 days.

  3. Form G1145 – This is needed if you want USCIS to send you a SMS or an email once they receive your application.Use this form and attach at top of the application package.
  4. Completed I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. Sample I-765 form for H4-EAD renewal is given below.
  5. Supporting Documents

    1. H4 Status:
      • Copy of H-4 visa holder’s I-797 Approval. This should be the most recent one (H4 extension).
      • Most recent i-94 copy. This would be the NEW i94 that came attached with your H4 extension approval (i797).
    2. A government-issued identification document with photo and Proof of current EAD.
      • Copy of your current EAD card (both front and back).
      • Copy of Indian Passport’s front (with Photo) and back pages (with address).
    3. Relationship to the H-1B nonimmigrant: Copy of the marriage certificate issued in India or your country.
    4. Your basis for eligibility: Copy of I-797 approval notice for I-140.

Sample I765 form for H4 EAD RENEWAL


 

H4 EAD Renewal i765 Sample Form

You can use this sample form. Just replace the values with your own and take a print out. The link opens in a new browser window.

Please note that when you get your H4 renewed, it is possible that START date for this extension is in future. For example,

If your H4 expires in September 2016, and you applied for renewal in Mar 2016, it is possible that your extended H4’s start date is Sep 2016 instead of March 2016.
Now, this is entirely dependent on the USCIS to give a current start date or future one (that correlates with your current H4’s expiry date).

For the sake of filling up the i-765 form, we would consider the most recent H4 approval irrespective of its start date.
Based on it, your i94 number and primary H1B i797 approval receipt number will be decided while filing i765.

  1. Q 10 : Use i94 number provided on the most recent H4 approval (i797 form). You would find the new i94 attached to this i797 form at the bottom. If the START date of this i94 is in future, do not worry. Use this future date here.
  2. Q 11 : Check ‘Yes’.

    Enter the details of USCIS office where you sent your earlier EAD application/s.

    ‘Dates’: Enter all dates when you have applied for EAD earlier. If you do not remember the dates correctly, write the EAD start dates mentioned on EAD card.

Question 13: Place of Last entry into the US?


You should enter the name of the Airport that you entered in US on your most recent entry. This should be recorded on your most recent i94 as well.

For example, Newark International Airport.


For some people, this airport might be a non-US airport like the ones coming from Abu Dhabi. They normally complete the US immigration process at Abu-Dhabi airport itself.

I would suggest to write either the “Port of Entry/Exit” as “MAA – ABU DHABI INTL” or the name of the US airport where you landed first.

For example, if you landed in Washington Airport after completing immigration process at Abu Dhabi airport, your i94 record will show the “MAA – ABU DHABI INTL” as the port of entry.
You can then either write “Washington Airport” or “MAA – ABU DHABI INTL”.

I think either option would be fine.

How should H-4 EAD applicants respond to Question 16 on Form I-765?


C26 is the correct answer.

Should my spouse answer Question 17 on Form I-765?


No. You can write ‘N/A’.

What is the answer to Question 18 on Form I-765 for H4-EAD? Which receipt number should I write? I have two receipt, one is H1B approval and other is i-140 Approval?


You have to enter the H1B primary person’s most recent I-797 receipt number here. If the H1B’s extension’s start date falls in future, use this future date here.

You can find this receipt number on the I-797 form itself (page 1, top section), it you have the approved copy with you.

Please note that this is NOT the I-140 approval receipt number.


FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions


  1. What address should the H4-EAD application be sent to?
  2. Which address should be chosen out of two address given? P.O. box or other address?
  3. Which color pen should be used for signature on Form I-765?
  4. Can the fees check be a personal check or should it be a banker’s check?
  5. USCIS H4-EAD fees payment check should be payable to whom?
  6. When will work authorization be granted?
  7. How much time does USCIS take to approve the H4 EAD application?
  8. My spouse does not have an SSN or an alien registration number. How should he/she respond to Questions 9 and 10 on Form I-765?
  9. Can you start a business on H4 EAD?
  10. Can we apply for SSN after getting H4 EAD?
  11. How can the application be filed with USCIS?
  12. If I change my employer at this time, and if my GC process is re-initiated would my wife be still eligible for filing H-4 EAD or NOT (in a situation if old employer revokes I-140?
  13. Is premium filing option available for H4 EAD?
  14. What if my spouse gets H4 EAD and still does not work?
  15. Should we staple all the documents together in application package?
  16. Can I Travel outside USA during my H4 ead application is in process?
  17. Should we take Lawyer or Attorney help to file H4-EAD application?

What address should the H4-EAD application be sent to?


The address depends on the category i.e. (c)(26) in this case. It is further divided based on the H1B primary visa holder’s I797 approval’s receipt number.
You can find it here.

H4 EAD application address

H4 EAD application address – Snapshot from USCIS link

Which address should be chosen out of two address given? P.O. box or other address?


Use the P.O. box if you are sending your package using standard mail i.e. USPS.

Any other service like FedEx, UPS or even USPS express mail (1 day overnight delivery) should be sent to the other address designated for courier receivables. That’s my understanding.

Please share and suggest if this understanding is wrong or needs correction.

You can send documents by USPS overnight delivery (Priority mail EXPRESS) to the Business suite address in Texas (not the P.O. box address).

Which color pen should be used for signature on Form I-765?


Only BLACK color ink pen are allowed. USCIS uses computer to read the forms and hence it requires BLACK ink.

Can the fees check be a personal check or should it be a banker’s check?


The fees can be any check i.e. either a personal check or a banker’s check or a money order.

You can see a snapshot below for a personal check (check visible on top of application bundle).

USCIS H4-EAD fees payment check should be payable to whom?


It should be made payable to:
U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
No short forms like USCIS or anything else allowed.

When will work authorization be granted?


Work authorization will be available once the application is approved and the EAD card is received by the H-4 visa holder.

How much time does USCIS take to approve the H4 EAD application?


Processing times with USCIS are expected to be at least 90 days from the date of the H-4 EAD application’s receipt, provided that the applicant is already in H-4 status.

They have an SLA (service line agreement) of 90 days. Currently, for normal EAD applications, it is taking anywhere between 90 to 120 days.

My spouse does not have an SSN or an alien registration number. How should he/she respond to Questions 9 and 10 on Form I-765?


These fields can be left blank (or write ‘N/A’) if your spouse does not have an SSN or alien registration number.

In the new revised form (updated on 22 May 2015 by USCIS), they have changed the Q 10 to include the ‘i 94’ number as an option. You SHOULD record your i94 number. If you do not know, you can use this online form to fetch your most recent i-94 online.

Can you start a business on H4 EAD?


Technically, an EAD (work authorization) allows one to do any job or even start a business.

There are no restriction like the ones we have for primary H1B holder of filing LCA for a specific technology, location and employer.

Can we apply for SSN after getting H4 EAD?


Yes, H4 dependents would be able to apply for SSN after receiving their EAD card.

How can the application be filed with USCIS? Is online filing available?


At the time of writing this article, the only option available was sending application by mail for H4-EAD.

It is also a recommended method and you should preferably use USPS, FedEx or UPS with tracking.

If I change my employer at this time, and if my GC process is re-initiated would my wife be still eligible for filing H-4 EAD or NOT (in a situation if old employer revokes I-140


Your wife (or spouse for that matter) is eligible to apply and get an H4-EAD as long as your I-140 remains un-revoked. This is applicable even if you change your company.

But, if your old company revokes I-140, your spouse would not be eligible for H-4 EAD.

Is premium filing option available for H4 EAD?


No. There is no premium filing option.

What if my spouse gets H4 EAD and still does not work?


I don’t think there is any issue in not working even after getting EAD. It is personal choice. I would recommend applying for an EAD even if the spouse does not intend to work.

An advantage of the EAD would be your spouse’s eligibility to apply for SSN.

Should we staple all the documents together in application package?


Do NOT staple the documents. Instead, use a paper clip to bind them together. Here is a sample of final documents package.

H4 EAD application bundle

H4 EAD application bundle

Can I Travel outside USA during my H4 EAD application is in process?


Well, this is what USCIS says for travel:

You may travel if you are in valid H-4 status and meet all the admission requirements, including having a valid H-4 nonimmigrant visa. However, traveling outside of the United States could cause delays in your case. While you are outside of the United States, we may need additional information to make a decision on your Form I-765 or we may issue a Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) with an opportunity to respond. If you do not respond on time to a Request for Evidence (RFE) or to the NOID, we may deny your case as abandoned. Additionally, travel outside of the United States may also cause possible delays if we need to reschedule your appointment at an Application Support Center.

In simple terms, I would travel outside if someone in USA (like your husband) can receive the notices from USCIS and respond, if required. In a normal scenario, you do not receive RFE or need to visit application support center. But, if you do, you will have to come back to USA.

Should we take Lawyer or Attorney help to file H4-EAD application?


I have heard from reliable sources that attorney (lawyers) in USA are charging about $500 for filing H4 EAD application.
This fees is over and above the USCIS’s $380. So, if you use an Attorney, you would be spending somewhere around $830 on most conservative estimate.

I do not think that filing H4-EAD is tough enough to be not done all by yourself. It is just a simple 1 page form. You can just follow the above article and do it yourself and save at-least $500 in Attorney fees.

On the other hand, some of the consulting companies are paying for the H4 spouse’s USCIS and Attorney fees, if they start working for them after getting their EAD. This is a good arrangement too.

You can bookmark this page as I would be adding more information as and when I receive.

More questions or suggestions? Please share them in the comments below. I would try to answer to the best of my knowledge.


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