Can H4, L2 EAD Work on Receipt (180-540 Day Extension?)

H4 EAD can work while extension pending & card expired if H4 i94 is valid. Automatic 180-day extension allowed by USCIS. L2 does not need EAD to work.

Written by AM22Tech Team
  AM22Tech Team    Updated 29 Jul, 22

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As per the new USCIS policy introduced on Nov 12, 2021, there have been extensive changes made to L2 EAD and some to H4 EAD.

  • L2 EAD gets an automatic 180-day EAD extension if L2 i94 does not show valid work authorization.
    • If L2 i94 shows a valid work permit, L2 can work without even filing an EAD application.
  • H4 EAD will get an automatic EAD extension up to 180-540 days if
    • EAD renewal is filed before the current EAD expiry
    • H4 i94 is valid

If an EAD is required for your case, you cannot work until you get the renewed EAD card in your hand.

H4 EAD card sample
H4 EAD card sample

There are other types of EAD work permits like i485 (code C09) that are allowed to use the automatic 180 EAD extension too.

L2 EAD holders whose category code is A(1)(8) can work now just by using their L2 i94.

(C05) J-2 spouse or minor child of a J-1 exchange visitor cannot work based on receipt for their EAD extension.

Interim EAD – Work for Some Days?

Many people ask the question if they can keep working based on the H4 EAD extension receipt even after the current one has expired for a couple of days.

The answer is that you cannot work after the expiration of your EAD card validity. You have to stop working the same day the EAD expires unless you are covered under the auto-extension policy.

i765 Notice of Action

The i765 notice of action (i797) sent by USCIS has a general language that you are allowed to keep working for up to 180 days.

H4 EAD notice says 180 day automatic extension is not valid for H4 EAD
H4 EAD notice says 180-day automatic extension is not valid for H4 EAD

Note that this is a generic message about 180 automatic renewals available if your EAD application is pending in the category allowed by USCIS.

Interim EAD is given to help the continued employment when USCIS is taking time to approve the EAD renewal application.

Can I work if H4 EAD Renewal is in the process?

You cannot work if your existing H4 EAD card has expired and your H4 i94 has expired while renewal is in process.

Unpaid Leaves or Termination

Some employers and attorneys suggest going on ‘unpaid leave’ and returning to work once you have got your new EAD card.

As per our opinion, the job should be terminated by the employer and you can rejoin once your get H4 EAD work permit.

  • Many attorneys recommend that your employer terminate your employment and I-9 to avoid unnecessary compliance issues later.
  • The employer has to fill out form I-9 to report legal employment to the government and IRS and hence cannot keep you on the payroll.

It is also for your own benefit to stop working as the status issues might crop up at the time of green card processing, which may hurt more than a couple of days or a month’s salary now.

You can talk to your employer and attorney to check if they are okay with letting you go on a leave of absence while your EAD card renewal is pending.

Automatic EAD Extension Categories

USCIS only allows some EAD categories to keep working even after EAD expiry if you have filed the extension before the current EAD approval expires.

H4 EAD category is C(26) and it is part of the automatic EAD extension allowed list: A03, A05, A07, A08, A10, C08, C09, C10, C16, C20, C22, C24, C31, and A12 or C19.


Can I work on the H4 EAD receipt?

You cannot work on the H4 EAD receipt or an approval status on the USCIS website unless you have the valid H4 i94 which allows you the interim auto extension.

A physical H4 EAD card is required to work.

Can I work if the H4 EAD renewal is in the process?

You cannot work if your existing H4 EAD card has expired and renewal is in process.

You should get the approved H4 EAD card in your hand to restart the work unless you are eligible for auto extension using a valid H4 i94.

Is 180 automatic extension notice on the I-765 form valid?

I-765 has a generic message about 180 automatic renewals. It may or may not be applicable to your EAD category.

Can H4 EAD open LLC and do business?

H4 EAD can open an LLC and do any business.

Are there any restrictions on the H4 EAD job?

There are no restrictions on the H4 EAD job.

You can do any type of job like Walmart sales executive, insurance agent, drive Uber, or IT consulting.

Can we file EAD from India?

You cannot file EAD from India.

You have to be physically present in the USA to have valid H4 or L2 status and then file the EAD application.


Written by AM22Tech Team
  AM22Tech Team