All about H4 EAD Application Process, Fee and Processing Time

H4 EAD processing time

Effective May 26, 2015, the new EAD for H4 rule allows for qualified H4 dependent spouses of H1B visa holders to apply for H4 visa EAD, Employment Authorization Document. Let us review some details of the entire process. Let’s start with H4 EAD processing time.

H4 EAD Processing Time

H4 EAD Application processing time for applying for approval (without RFE) usually takes 30–90 days from the date of receipt. After approval, it takes another ten days to get approval notice by mail, and approx. Fifteen days to get EAD card. You can raise a request after 75 days to get the latest update.

Steps to H4 EAD Application Process

An H4 EAD allows specific H4 visa holders to legally work in the United States so long as their spouse has valid H1B visa status. H4 visa spouses should apply for H4 EAD and also obtain employment authorisation to begin work or business in the US.

For those who are not sure about how to apply for H4 EAD, the H4 EAD application process is similar to the regular EAD application process, involving meeting individual eligibility requirements, submitting Form I-765, and paying the required H4 EAD fees.

H4 dependent spouses are eligible to apply for H4 visa EAD as long as their H1B spouse meets one of the following requirements.

  • The H1B visa holder is the principal beneficiary of an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker; or
  • H1B visa holder has been granted H1B visa status under sections 106(a) and (b) of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000 as amended by the 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act (AC21).

H4 Visa EAD Application

The H4 Visa EAD application process is similar to that of applying for a regular EAD. To apply for H4 EAD, the applicant must file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. The process of how to apply for H4 EAD consists of the following steps.

It is compulsory to complete Form I-765, including the $410 filing fee.

Submit supporting evidence, including evidence of:

  • H4 status, shown by a copy of most recent Form I-797 and Form I-94
  • Government-issued ID with photo, shown by a copy of the biometric page of passport; birth certificate with photo; visa issued by foreign consulate; or national ID with photo
  • Relationship to H1B nonimmigrant, shown by a copy of marriage certificate
  • The basis for eligibility, shown by a copy of H1B nonimmigrant’s Form I-797 approval notice for Form I-140; or copy of H1B nonimmigrant’s passports, prior Forms I-94, and current prior Forms I-797 for Form I-129


Criteria To Apply For EAD – Employment Authorization Document

DHS Says Rule to Discontinue H4 Visa EAD to Come Earliest In Spring

Submitting Form I-765

H4 visa EAD applicants may not e-file Form I-765; anyone applying for H4 EAD must send Form I-765 along with the required fees and evidence via postal mail. Form filing details are outlined below.

  • If you are only submitting Form I-765 because you currently have H4 visa status and are not seeking an extension, mail to the Lockbox address found on the USCIS Direct Filing Addresses for Form I -765 web page.
  • If you are submitting Form I-765 and Form I-539 together because you are seeking to change or extend your H4 status, mail to the Lockbox address found on the USCIS Direct Filing Addresses for Form I -765 web page.
  • If you are submitting Form I-765, Form I-129, and Form I-539 together because you are seeking H1B status for your spouse and change or extension for your H4 status, mail to the Service Center with jurisdiction over Form I-129. Visit the USCIS Direct Filing Addresses for Form I-129 for more information.

Even though you can file Form I-765 and Form I-539 together, please note that USCIS will not process your Form I-765 until it has adjudicated your Form I-539.

The 90-day adjudication period for Form I-765 filed together with Form I-539 will not begin until your H4 status is determined, your spouse’s H1B status is determined, or both.

In case, the applicant files Form I-765 concurrently with a Form I-129 and Form I-539, the H4 EAD processing time would be prolonged and will not begin until USCIS determines the applicant eligibility for H1B status.

H4 EAD Application Processing time may also be delayed if the applicant’s file lacks completeness is asked for additional evidence or USCIS issues an RFE or NOID.

H4 Visa EAD Fee Waiver

In accordance with 8 CFR 103.7(c), Fee Waiver Guidelines as Established by the Final Rule of the USCIS Fee Schedule, H4 EAD applicants submitting Form I-765 may be eligible for a fee waiver for their H4 visa EAD fees, given that they show an inability to pay. Else they may have to pay $85 for biometrics as well making the total at $495

No fee is required for filing a fee waiver request.

How to Submit H4 EAD Application Fees

H4 EAD fees, or Form I-765 fees, can be paid by sending a check or money order payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, payable in US currency and drawn on a US bank or financial institution. The H4 visa EAD application should be arranged beginning with the application and filing fee, followed by the remaining documents.

If your application is not accompanied by the correct H4 EAD Application fees, it will be rejected with a notice that Form I-765 is deficient. You will then have to correct and resubmit your application along with the appropriate EAD for H4 fees.

Remember that H4 dependent spouses filing for H4 EAD should not e-file their application.

Posted Under