On Tuesday, February 24th, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the extension of employment authorization benefits to certain H-4 spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants working in the United States. Beginning May 26th, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (CIS) will begin accepting applications from qualifying H-4 nonimmigrants. To be eligible, the H-4 nonimmigrant must be the spouse of a principal H-1B nonimmigrant who:

  1. Is the principal beneficiary of an approved I-140 Immigrant Visa Petition; or
  2. Has been granted an extension of H-1B nonimmigrant status beyond the normal six-year limitation on H-1B eligibility under sections 106(a) and (b) of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000 (AC-21).

Applications may not be filed prior to May 26th, and only H-4 spouses are eligible to apply. Dependent children in H-4 status will not be eligible.