Some H-1B Spouses Eligible for Work Authorization on May 26, 2015

On May 26, 2015, USCIS will begin accepting applications for work authorization from certain H-1B spouses.

For a long time, H-1B spouses could not work until they got a green card. Given the wait in certain categories and for citizens of certain countries, this meant these spouses, often well-educated professionals, sat idle. This is a waste of an important American resource - educated individuals who would contribute to the economy as they wait to become permanent residents and eventually citizens of the United States. See our previous post for more information:


H-1B spouses hold an H-4 visa and are eligible to work under two scenarios: (1) The H-1B holder has an approved I-140; or (2) The H-1B holder has received an extension beyond the six-year limit pursuant to specific provisions of AC21. H-1B extensions beyond year six are granted when the H-1B spouse is in process of a PERM labor certification or an I-140 immigrant petition that was filed at least 365 days prior to the end of the sixth year of H-1B status.

Eligibility and application are complex, especially given that these are new regulations. If you think you or your spouse may qualify for work authorization, contact us at to begin the process.