Starting May 26, 2015, certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants will be permitted to apply for work authorization in the United States. Those permitted to work include individuals in H-4 status whose H-1B spouses have started the green card process, as described below:

  1. Have an approved I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker; or
  2. Have extended their H-1B status beyond the six-year limit as the beneficiary of a permanent labor certification application or an employment-based immigrant petition that was filed at least 365 days prior to the end of the sixth year of H-1B status.

The H-4 spouse must file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, with supporting evidence that (1) he/she is in valid H-4 status; (2) the H-1B spouse is in valid status; (3) the H1B spouse was granted an H-1B extension based upon an approved I-140 petition, or as the beneficiary of a PERM labor certification or I-140 petition that was pending at least 365 days. The filing fee is $380. The application may not be filed before May 26, 2015 and the applicant may not start working until the application is approved and the Employment Authorization Document is in hand.

For additional information, please see the press release from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, dated Feb. 24, 2015.