A change in U.S. immigration policy effective next week will for the first time allow an estimated 180,000 H-4 visa holders apply for authorization to work in the United States.
H-4 visas are issued to the spouses of H-1B visa holders. The H-4 visa allows an individual to enter and remain in the United States with a spouse to avoid a prolonged separation during the spouse’s H-1B employment period. Until now, however, H-4 visa holders have been ineligible to accept employment in the U.S.
The change, which will become effective on May 26, 2015, applies only to H-4 visa holders whose spouse is the beneficiary of an already approved I-140 petition filed by his or her employer to sponsor them for permanent residency (commonly called a “green card”). In such a situation, the H-4 spouse holder may be eligible for a so-called employment authorization document (“EAD”) which will allow them to legally accept an offer of employment from any U.S. employer.
If you are an H-1B or H-4 visa holder and are curious how this new change may impact your family or if you are an employer who is interested in understanding how this change may impact your employees, please contact the attorneys of SS+D’s Immigration Law Center.