Federal courts have clarified the rights of those with H-4 visas

Many skilled workers who come to the United States have already established families along with successful careers. They may apply for a specialty visa, like an H-1B visa, with the sponsorship of their employer. If they pass a background check process and have the necessary education or employment experience, skilled workers can secure a visa to enter the country to accept a domestic position with a company looking for top talent.

They are then permitted to travel to the United States with their immediate family members. Spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 can potentially accompany an individual with an employment visa when they enter the country. They will often secure H-4 visas. However, those with subordinate visas usually have restrictions on what they can do while in the United States.

For several years, a temporary policy allowed those with H-4 visas to seek an employment authorization document (EAD) in certain circumstances. A recent court ruling has affirmed that opportunity and solidified it as an option for those with H-4 visas going forward.

What was the policy in question?

The immigration process is a lengthy one, and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) frequently updates what it expects from immigrants and allows them to do. In 2015, a change to a federal rule allowed H-4 visa holders to request the right to work in the United States if their spouse intended to secure a green card.

Essentially, once the worker with the H-1B visa began the process of adjusting their status, their spouse with an H-4 visa could potentially apply for an EAD. If the USCIS grants someone with an H-4 visa an EAD, they can seek any job that they qualify for in the United States or even begin working as a self-employed professional. A federal judge recently affirmed the legal basis for this new policy, allowing it to continue.

Obviously, this change is beneficial for immigrant families is it opens up a second stream of income for them. It is also beneficial for the United States economy as a whole because it allows those with skills and education to contribute to companies or to start their own. Those who are aware of current immigration policies are better positioned to make the most of their time in the United States.

Get Started with a

Schedule a consultation and review your immigration case with one of our experienced attorneys.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form. Due to heavy demand, please note that, should you wish to proceed with an attorney consultation, these are by appointment only and cost $400.
Privacy Policy