How to Apply for H4 EAD?


By Imagility

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Table of Contents

What is H4 EAD?
Eligibility Criteria
Required Documents
Application Process

The H4 Employment Authorization Document (EAD) is a valuable opportunity for certain spouses of H1B visa holders to work in the United States legally. Understanding the process of applying for an H4 EAD is crucial for those eligible individuals seeking employment opportunities in the U.S. 

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the intricacies of the H4 EAD application process, including eligibility criteria, required documents, application steps, processing times, and more.

What is H4 EAD?

The H4 EAD program allows spouses of H1B visa holders on H4 dependent visas to obtain work authorization in the U.S. without employer sponsorship. However, not all H4 visa holders are eligible for the EAD. Let’s explore the eligibility criteria in detail.

Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for an H4 EAD, applicants must meet specific eligibility requirements established by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Key eligibility criteria include:

  • Spousal Relationship

The applicant must be the spouse of an H1B visa holder who holds an approved Form I-140 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker) or is in H1B status under sections 106(a) and (b) of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act of 2000 (AC21).

  • H4 Visa Status

The applicant must be in H4 visa status, which is granted to dependents of H1B visa holders.

  • Physical Presence

The applicant must be physically present in the United States.

  • Admissibility

The applicant must not be inadmissible to the U.S. for any reason, such as criminal history or immigration violations.

Required Documents

Applicants must gather various documents to support their H4 EAD application. These documents typically include:

  • Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization)
  • Proof of H4 visa status (Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record)
  • Copy of the H1B spouse’s Form I-797 (Notice of Approval)
  • Marriage certificate (To establish the spousal relationship)
  • Passport-size photographs
  • Proof of eligibility (such as Form I-140 approval notice)

Application Process

The process of applying for an H4 EAD involves several steps, including:

  • Complete Form I-765

Fill out Form I-765 accurately and thoroughly, providing all required information.

  • Pay Filing Fee

Pay the required filing fee for Form I-765, unless eligible for a fee waiver.

  • Submit Application Package

Compile all required documents and submit the application package to the USCIS Lockbox facility.

  • Await USCIS Processing

After submitting the application, applicants must wait for USCIS to process their application and issue the EAD.

  • Processing Time and Status Check

The processing time for an H4 EAD application can vary depending on factors such as USCIS workload and individual case circumstances. Applicants can check the status of their application online using the USCIS Case Status Online tool.


Applying for an H4 EAD is a significant step for eligible spouses of H1B visa holders seeking employment opportunities in the United States. By understanding the eligibility criteria, gathering required documents, and following the application process diligently, applicants can increase their chances of obtaining an H4 EAD and pursuing their career goals in the U.S. It is essential to stay informed and prepared throughout the application process to ensure a smooth and successful outcome.

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