• H-4 Employment Authorization Rule Clears Federal Review
  • April 8, 2015
  • Law Firm: Fragomen Del Rey Bernsen Loewy LLP - New York Office
  • The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has given its approval to a final regulation that will allow eligible H-4 nonimmigrants to apply for an employment authorization document (EAD) if their H-1B spouse has a long-pending permanent residence case. OMB clearance is the last procedural step before the H-4 EAD rule is published in the Federal Register and an effective date is announced.

    Publication of the rule is expected in the coming days. Fragomen is tracking its progress closely and will notify clients as soon as the text of the rule is released. The contents of the final regulation will remain confidential until that time.

    The rule, which has been in development since 2011, is expected to allow H-4 spouses to apply for an EAD if the H-1B principal (1) has an approved Form I-140 immigrant worker petition; or (2) has received an extension of H-1B status beyond the sixth year, based on an I-140 or labor certification filed on his or her behalf 365 days or more before the extension was requested.

    What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals

    The long-awaited regulation means that eligible H-4s will no longer be required to remain unemployed throughout the often-lengthy wait for an employment-based immigrant visa to become available. It is a key component of the Obama Administration’s initiative to help the United States retain highly skilled foreign professionals and spur continued economic growth.