H4 EAD is an H4 Employment Authorization Document (EAD) that allows H4 visa holders to work legally in H4 EAD jobs without any employer or location restriction in USA.
DHS is working on H-4 EAD termination rules. New expected deadline is June 2018. We are actively tracking the news here: H4-EAD rule withdrawal news.
Documents required for H4 EAD application
1. H4-EAD FEES check
A check (Personal check or cashier check) for $410 payable to
U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Don’t use short forms like USCIS or anything else.
2. PHOTO for H4 EAD application
2 Identical photographs (2×2 Inch). These photos are same as we have for US visa interview.
Write your NAME and i94 number (OR SSN OR Alien registration number) on the back of the photograph with a light gray colored pencil.
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.
3. Form G1145 (Optional)
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. Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization
Sample I-765 form for H4-EAD is given below.
5. H4 Status Proof
- Copy of H-4 visa holder’s MOST RECENT I-797 Approval. If H4 extension has been done recently, use the extension approval. OR
- Most recent i-94 copy. If extension approved recently, the NEW i94 would be attached with your H4 extension approval (i797).
6. Government-issued identification document with photo
- 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 photograph on it. OR
- Any other national identity document with photo. US State ID or Driving License are NOT acceptable.
7. Relationship to the H-1B nonimmigrant
Copy of the marriage certificate issued in your country in English.
8. H4 EAD eligibility proof
Copy of I-797 approval notice for I-140 which belongs to primary H1B spouse.
If your employer has not shared I-140 approval copy with you, you can use USCIS FOIA request to get I-140 details.
Source: Official USCIS Document list
H4 EAD Eligibilty
Spouses of H-1B visa holders who
- 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;
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 (pending for more than 365 days) of H-1B status.
Can H4 Work in USA? Yes, they can, if they are eligible and get their H4 EAD approved.
They can even start a business, employ other people and work in possibly any industry or job function irrespective of their spouse’s H1B job description.
Sample I765 form for H4 EAD Application
Most of the points on this form are self-explanatory. If you have any doubts, you can read the FAQ’s or ask your question in comments below.
What is the answer to Question 22 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 22 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
The document list is same for renewal (or H4 EAD extension) as for new H4-EAD application mentioned above.
USCIS does not allow you to apply earlier than 180 days. This number includes weekend and holidays too.
Update May 19, 2018: Several users have reported that USCIS is now issuing RFEs if you file for renewal 180 days before expiry. They are claiming that you can file only 120 days before expiry.
Refer comments by users:
Officially, USCIS allows filing renewal 180 days in advance.
We recommend people to be careful as the H4 EAD withdrawal is coming soon. We have covered the news and USCIS discrepancy in detail here.
Sample I765 form for H4 EAD RENEWAL
Please note that when you get your H4 renewed, it is possible that START date for this extension is in future.
If your H4 expires in September, and you applied for renewal in Mar, same year, it is possible that your extended H4’s start date is Sep instead of March.
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.
- Q 14: Form i-94 number : 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.
- Q 15: Prior EAD application : 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.
What address should the H4-EAD application be sent to?
H4 EAD USCIS and DHS H4 EAD mean the same thing. Your H4 EAD application goes to USCIS and not to DHS.
Use H1B primary visa holder’s MOST recent I797 approval’s receipt number and then use this table to find the address:
|Receipt Number begins with||Send application to||Sending by USPS? Use this address||Sending by FedEx, UPS or DHL? Use this address|
|EAC or LIN||Dallas USCIS Lockbox office||USCIS Attn: H4 |
P.O. Box 660921
Dallas, TX 75266
|USCIS Attn: H4 |
2501 S. State Hwy. 121 Business
Lewisville, TX 75067
|WAC||USCIS Phoenix Lockbox office||USCIS Attn: H4 |
P.O. Box 20400
Phoenix, AZ 85036
Attn: H4 1820 E. Skyharbor Circle S
Phoenix, AZ 85034
Q 15: Have you ever applied for employment authorization from USCIS?
If you are applying for EAD for the first time, then your answer here would be ‘No’.
If you are renewing your existing H4-EAD or you had any kind of EAD before (like L2-EAD), then you need to provide its information. Hence, your answer to this question would be ‘Yes’ and provide its details.
For H4-EAD renewal applications, your answer should be ‘Yes’. Then provide your old EAD (or current EAD’s) details. The ‘Which USCIS Office?’ is a vague question. We have seen people filing ‘Texas’ since that’s the lockbox address that they send their application to. The EAD’s have been renewed with no issues.
Question 17: 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.
Question 20 : EAD eligibitlity category?
C26 is the correct answer for H4-EAD applicants.
Question 21: What should my spouse answer for eligibity degree on Form I-765?
For H4-EAD applications, you do not need to answer this question. You can write ‘N/A’.
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 used to have an SLA (service line agreement) of 90 days earlier. It stands cancelled and now there is no official time frame.
Currently, the EAD applications are taking these many days to process applications as per official USCIS stats:
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. In the new EAD form, you have the option of directly applying for SSN once your EAD is approved.
If you want to do that, just select ‘No’ on Q 9.a. and then select ‘Yes’ on Q 10 and Q 11. You will be assigned and mailed a SSN number automatically after your EAD is approved.
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.
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?
There is no 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, as they will become eligible to get 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.
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.