On February 26, 2015, USCIS announced it will offer employment authorization to some H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants. Beginning on May 26, 2015, spouses of H-1B beneficiaries will be eligible to apply for employment authorization in two circumstances related to the permanent residence process:
First, if the H-1B worker is a principal beneficiary of an approved Form I-140 petition
(typically, for which the priority date is not current).
Second, if the H-1B worker has been granted H-1B status in excess of six years under
certain provisions of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of
2000 (AC21) (more than one year has elapsed since filing a labor certification application
or since filing an I-140 petition).
In its announcement, USCIS emphasized this change will ease the financial strain on H-1B families who have long waiting periods before immigrant visas become available. It also will help these families integrate into American society, attract the best and the brightest workers to the United States, and minimize disruptions to U.S. businesses, thus supporting the economy. USCIS expects the number of eligible individuals to reach nearly 180,000 in the first year and 55,000 in subsequent years.
If you are one of the many individuals who might benefit from this much needed immigration policy, please contact our office so we can prepare your application in anticipation of the May 26, 2015 filing date.