USCIS_Sig_Rib_VertOn February 24, 2015, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced eligibility for employment authorization of certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants who are seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident (LPR) status. Under this regulation, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will be accepting applications from H-4 dependent spouses for employment in the United States starting May 26, 2015.

“Allowing the spouses of these visa holders to legally work in the United States makes perfect sense,” León Rodríguez (Director of USCIS) said. “It helps U.S. businesses keep their highly skilled workers by increasing the chances these workers will choose to stay in this country during the transition from temporary workers to permanent residents. It also provides more economic stability and better quality of life for the affected families.”

Extending eligibility for employment authorization to certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B visa holders is one of the ways of modernizing, improving, and clarifying visa programs that will contribute to the growth of the U.S. economy as well as creation of jobs, according to President Obama’s November 20, 2014, announcement.

Eligible individuals include certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants who:

– Are the principal beneficiaries of an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker; or 

– Have been granted H-1B extension beyond the six-year limit based on a pending labor certification or immigrant petition.

DHS expects that this change will reduce the economic burden and personal stresses H-1B nonimmigrants and their families experience during their transition from nonimmigrant to lawful permanent resident status, and facilitate their integration into the American society. As such, the change will reduce certain disincentives that currently lead some H-1B nonimmigrants to abandon their efforts to remain in the United States while seeking lawful permanent residence, which will minimize disruptions to U.S. businesses employing them. The change will also support the U.S. economy because the contributions H-1B nonimmigrants make to entrepreneurship and science help promote economic growth and job creation. The rule also will bring U.S. immigration policies more in line with those laws of other countries that compete to attract similar highly skilled workers.

Attorneys at I.S. Law Firm have helped many individuals to obtain employment authorization and permanent residence in the United States. To explore your options, please contact us for a consultation and case evaluation at +1-703-527-1779 or by e-mail: [email protected].