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USCIS Grants Automatic Work Authorization to H-4 Visa Holders

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On November 10, 2021, after litigation between the American Immigration Lawyers Association and USCIS, USCIS will now grant automatic extension of work authorization to H-4. H-4 visas are for spouses of H-1B visa holders. For more information on H-1B visas, please click here.

The litigation successfully achieved the reversal of USCIS policy that prohibited H-4 spouses from benefiting from automatic extension of their employment authorization during the pendency of standalone employment authorization document applications. USCIS offers 180 days of automatic work authorization to those who:

  • Properly filed for a renewal EAD before their current EAD expired, and
  • Are otherwise eligible for a renewal, which means that:
    • Your EAD renewal is under a category that is eligible for an automatic 180-day extension (see the list of categories below); and
    • The Category on your current EAD matches the “Class Requested” listed on this Notice of Action.  (Note:  If you are a TPS beneficiary or pending applicant, your EAD and this Notice must contain either the A12 or C19 category, but the categories do not need to match each other).

For the list of eligible categories, please click here. With this change, this means that H-4 visa holders will now join the eligible categories. H-4 visa holders with valid EADs who have properly submitted a renewal application will now be able to continue working for 180 days after their current EADs expire, as long as the renewal application is pending. Once the renewal application is processed, the individual can work on the renewed EAD.

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