In May 2015 USCIS issued a final rule allowing certain H-4 dependent spouses to apply for an employment authorization document (EAD). The current administration has issued a new rule that proposes to end employment authorization for these same H-4 visa holders. This rule could be finalized as quickly as May 2019.
H-4 visa holders come to the U.S. to join their spouses on H1B visas. It is estimated that about 90,000 foreign nationals, mostly women hold EADs through this program. The EADs are issued to spouses who are well on their way to obtaining lawful permanent residence through employer sponsorship, but are waiting for their opportunity to do so, due to excessive delays in per-country immigrant visa backlogs.
It is advisable that H-4 visa holders who are employed and hold a degree, consult with an immigration attorney regarding cap subject H1Bs to see if they qualify to apply. Time is of the essence as cap subject application must be submitted during the first week of April 2019.
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