Eligible H-4 visa holders can apply for work permits starting May 26, 2015, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced.
The new rule will take effect only on May 26, 2015 and no applications for work permits will be accepted before that. After the new rule takes effect, eligible H-4 visa holders can file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization to request work permits. Applications that the USCIS receives before May 26 will be rejected.
Recognizing the burden carried by the dependents of H-1B visa holders due to their inability to work in the U.S., the USCIS came up with the idea of granting work permits to certain H-4 dependents. This new rule is a big win for high-skilled workers holding H-1B visas in the U.S. and their dependents. Around 179,000 individuals are likely to become eligible for work permits under this new rule.
If you hold an H-4 visa and if your husband or wife who holds an H-1B visa is in the process of applying for green card status in the U.S. based on employment, you will qualify for the benefit. You will be able to apply for a work permit if your husband or wife meets certain requirements. USCIS could take up to 90 days to process and decide on an application for work permit. Once the work permits are issued, you will also be able to apply for a Social Security Number.
Remember that you must file Form I-765 on or after May 26, 2015 and not before that. Make sure you follow the instructions that come with the I-765 application. Your application will be rejected if you forget to affix your signature or pay the fee of $380. Remember that USCIS will not accept electronic I-765 applications; you will need to file the paper form.