DHS extends eligibility to H-4 dependent spouses for employment authorization
Yes! Starting May 26, 2015, the USCIS will be accepting employment authorization applications for H-4 spouses dependent on H-1B nonimmigrant seeking employment-based lawful permanent residence. You can work as you like, change jobs, start your own business, become a contractor etc.
2) What is the eligibility?
The eligibility includes that the H-4 dependent spouse be the principal beneficiary of an approved I-140 immigrant petition for alien worker; OR
Have been granted H-1B status and are seeking lawful permanent residence status to work and remain in the U.S. beyond the six-year limit.
3) How do I begin the process?
Starting May 26, 2015 have your immigrant attorney submit a I-765 employment authorization form and a fee for $380. USCIS expects 179,000 individuals to apply the first year. As soon as your I-765 application is approved, you can begin working with your employment authorization documentation. If you are also filing for an extension of your H-4 status, you can concurrently file for the employment authorization. You can change to H-4 status and request an EAD at the same time as well as long as you meet the eligibility requirements.
4) How long is my EAD valid for?
Your EAD is valid as long as you have a valid H-4 status. It will take 90 days for you to get your EAD.
5) What does all this mean?
The Department of Homeland Security has extended this eligibility to H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B specialty occupation foreign non-immigrant workers because it helps the U.S. economy, brings economic stability, and a better quality of life to families. This also increases the chances for U.S. business to keep their highly-skilled foreign workers who are transitioning to lawful permanent residence status.
For more details visit the USCIS announcement here.