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H-4 Spouse Employment Authorization and H-1B Cap Reminder

Immigration Advisory
March 2, 2015

On May 26, 2015, USCIS will begin accepting employment authorization applications for some H-4 dependent spouses. H-4 spouses are eligible for work authorization if their H-1B spouses have:

  1. an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, or
  2. have been granted H-1B status beyond six years under the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000.

Eligible H-4 dependent spouses must file a Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization, with the required $380 fee, to obtain employment authorization.

Employers may first apply for 2016 H-1B visas for individuals not currently in H-1B status on April 1, 2015 with a start date of October 1, 2015. USCIS received approximately 172,500 H-1B petitions during the first week applications were accepted for the 2015 H-1B visa cap and conducted a random lottery to select the 85,000 petitions for the H-1B cap (65,000 for the general category and 20,000 for the US advanced degree category). We anticipate similar high demand again this year. This H-1B cap limitation does not apply to extensions of H-1B status or those obtaining H-1B status to teach at colleges, universities, related nonprofit or government research organizations or J waiver physicians. If your company has potential H-1B candidates working on post-education employment authorization that will expire prior to October 1, 2016, please contact us to prepare H-1B petitions for these individuals as soon as possible to secure an available visa.

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