How to file H4 EAD, Documents, Form i765, Renewal Process

File H4 EAD yourself with I-765 form, document checklist. Fees $410. Renew 180 days before expiry. H1B primary I797 receipt required. Processing time 2-7 month.

Written by Anil Gupta
  By Anil Gupta    Updated  22 May, 20

How to file H4 EAD myself without attorney? Simple – just fill form i765, sign a personal check of $410, attach supporting documents and send it to USCIS. You are done.

H4 EAD allows H4 visa holders to work legally in the US without any employer or location restrictions. 

Check if you are eligible to apply H4 EAD.

Documents for H4 EAD Application

#1 H4-EAD Fees Check / Credit Card

H4 EAD fees check for $410 payable to ‘U.S. Department of Homeland Security‘. Short forms like USCIS are not allowed on personal or cashier or money order.

Personal check from your checking or savings account in Bank of America, Chase etc. is allowed. Certified check is not required.

H4 EAD application check
H4 EAD application check

EAD fees can be paid by credit card too.

Do not add biometric fees to H4 EAD check.

Biometric is only required for H4 extension and not H4 EAD. If you send wrong fees amount, USCIS will reject your application and send it back.

#2 Photo

Two identical 2×2 inch photographs clicked within last 30 days are required for H4 EAD application.

Write your name and i94 number (OR SSN OR Alien registration number) on the back of the photograph with a light gray colored pencil.

Admission record number on H4’s i94 fetched from CBP site is what should be written on the back of each photo.

Do not send old photo with I-765 application as USCIS will send RFE to submit new photos. This will increase your H4 EAD processing time.

#3 How to file H4 EAD using Form I-765

Fill up USCIS Application for Employment Authorization (form i765).

You can use this sample i765 form for first time H4-EAD application:

Open link in new window.

Use this sample i765 for filing H4 EAD extension or renewal:

Open link in new window.

#4 H4 Status Proof

  • Copy of H-4 visa holder’s most recent I-797 Approval. If an H4 extension has been approved recently, use the extension approval. OR
  • Most recent H4 i-94 copy. If an H4 extension was approved recently, the new i94 would be attached with your H4 extension approval (i797) notice.
Get i94 from CBP website
Get i94 from CBP website

#5 Government-issued Photo ID Document

  • Copy of Passport’s front (with Photo) and back pages (with address) OR
  • Copy of USA H4 Visa stamp page from Passport OR
  • A copy of your last EAD – Both front and back (if any) OR
  • A birth certificate with photo ID. Example, Indian (or Chinese) birth certificate will work only if it has a photograph on it. OR
  • Any other national identity document with photo. US State ID or Driving License is NOT acceptable.

#6 H4’s Relationship with H-1B

Copy of your marriage certificate in English is required to prove H4 dependent’s relationship to primary H1B.

#7 H4 EAD Eligibility Proof

Primary H1B spouse’s I-140 i797c approval notice is required to prove H4 EAD eligibility.

If your employer has not shared I-140 approval copy with you, use USCIS FOIA request to get I-140 details.

#8 Current H4-EAD copy for Renewal

Existing EAD copy is required only if you already have H4 EAD and you are applying for renew or extension.

Only black color ink pen is allowed as USCIS uses computer scanning to read forms.

Do NOT staple the documents. Use a paper clip to bind them together.

#9 Form G1145 (Optional but recommended)

Use form G1145 to let USCIS send you an SMS or an email once they receive your application. Attach this form at top of the EAD application package.

H4 EAD application package
H4 EAD application package

H1B, H4, H4 EAD Concurrent Filing

If you are filing H1B, H4 and H4 EAD applications concurrently at same time in same package, you can write this in the question 29 on form i765:

  • “Filed Concurrently” OR
  • Leave Blank OR
  • Write current approved H1B receipt number

All three options have been tried and tested and all of them work fine. Our recommendation is to write “Filed concurrently” in Q29.

Don’t worry about limited space to write it. You can just write with free hand writing.

Documents for H4-EAD Renewal Application

The document list is the same for H4 EAD renewal or extension as for new H4-EAD application mentioned above.

It is possible that the start date for H4 EAD extension is in future.

If your H4 expires in Sep, and you applied for renewal in Mar, same year, it is possible that your extended H4’s start date is Sep instead of March.
It is on 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.

What is H4 EAD Processing Time?

Current H4 EAD processing time is 2 to 7 months. It changes every month with each USCIS service center.

What is H4 EAD eligibility Category?

H4 EAD Eligibility category code is C(26).

How Much Time It Takes To get EAD Card After ‘new Card is Being Produced’ Status?

You will receive your EAD card within 1-7 working days after New Card is Being Produced case status.

Which Receipt Number to Write in Question 29 on H4 EAD form?

Write H1B primary’s most recent I-797 receipt number on H4 EAD application form I-765 question 29.

This is not the I-140 approval receipt number.

Which i94 Number Should Be Written On H4 EAD form?

You should write i94 number from the most recent H4 approval (i797 form) on H4 EAD application form Question 21a.

Use this start date even if it is in the future without any issue.

What is Reason of Applying H4 EAD?

Choose option 1.a. for Question 1 on H4 EAD form if you are applying EAD for the first time.

For H4-EAD renewal applications, choose renewal option as 1.c.
If you had any kind of EAD before (like L2-EAD), then you can consider H4 EAD as new EAD.

When can We Apply for H4 EAD Renewal?

You can apply for H4 EAD renewal 180 days before current EAD card expiry.

USCIS allows to file H4 EAD with H1B Amendment and H1B transfer applications even if the current card is valid for more than 180 days.

What is Place of Last Arrival into the US in Question 23 on form I-765?

You should write the name of the Airport or border that you used to enter US.

For some people, this airport might be a non-US airport like Abu Dhabi where they complete the US immigration process at Abu-Dhabi airport itself.

I would suggest writing 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 the 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”.

What is Question 28 for Spouse Eligibility Degree On Form I-765 for H4 EAD?

You can write ‘N/A’ or leave blank for H4 EAD applications.

Can I file H4 EAD while H4 Extension is Pending?

You can file H4 EAD while H4 Extension is pending.

Can I travel While H4 EAD is Pending?

You can travel while H4 EAD is pending. There are some risks associated with travel though.

Can H4 EAD Work if Current Card Expired and Extension Is Pending?

H4 EAD cannot work if current card has expired and extension is pending.

Automatic 180 day EAD extension is not allowed for H4 EAD.

Can H4 EAD Start a Business?

H4 EAD allows you to open a business with no restrictions.
Many people take franchise option. A small business insurance is highly recommended if you want to protect your investment.

What address should I Mail H4 EAD Application?

Check the USCIS address to mail H4 EAD application using H1B’s receipt number.

The first three letters of H1B application number like EAC, LIN, SRC, WAC decides the mailing address.

What USCIS mailing address should be used for H4 and H4 EAD applications?

You should use the H4 extension filing address for form i539 if you are filing H4 and H4 EAD together.

SSN with i-765 Form

If you do not currently have SSN, select ‘No’ on Q 13.a. and then select ‘Yes’ on Q 14 and Q 15.
You will have to fill Q 16.a., 16.b. with your (H4’s) father and mother name to get SSN card.

Your SSN card will be automatically generated after your EAD is approved within 3-4 weeks mailed by USPS.

Liked this Page? Did it help?
DONATE - Buy us a Coffee    Become a Patron


Written by Anil Gupta
  By Anil Gupta           

New Questions on Forum

Recent discussion on forum

  1. mvb

    Regarding Q 21a., should we use the i-94 number on i-794(H-4) approval or the latest i94 which was updated after passport renewal? They both are different numbers and I am attaching H4 approval notice (instead of latest i94)hence the confusion.

  2. venkat5121

    Are your both I94s have future expiry date?
    I would enter the latest, i.e. after passport renewal, and enclose it with the application.

  3. mvb

    Yes, both have same future date. Related Q would be should if latest i94 number is entered does it make more sense to attach latest i-94 instead of H4 i-797 approval copy? Or that doesn’t matter?
    Please confirm

  4. venkat5121

    I think they will look arrival record only from latest I94
    but your legal status from the H4 I797 copy.

    IMO both documents are necessary.

  5. mvb

    Thanks Anil and Venkat, you guys had been great help resolving queries.

Comments are closed. Ask question on Forum

19 more replies