H4 EAD application, documents, premium processing (2019) - Complete guide

H4 EAD application should be accurate to avoid unnecessary job delays and job interruptions. This detailed guide will help you gather the correct H4 EAD documents, fill the forms and beyond.

Heads up, keep your immigration documents, checkbooks ready. You may also have to print/copy/fill certain documents and also you will need two passport sized photographs.

With that, let’s proceed to the actual steps,

Table of Contents

H4 EAD Eligibility

Principal H1b non-immigrant should be a primary beneficiary of an approved Form I-140 Immigration petition. H4 dependent spouses of such individuals are eligible to apply for EAD.

Even if you are currently not on H4 visa, but planning to change the status from other visa types you may be eligible. For example, H1 to H4 EAD applications can be concurrently applied. Similarly, USCIS also allows concurrent filing of F1 to H4 EAD change of status.


H4 EAD premium processing

Even though H4 EAD application cannot be applied in premium processing, you can take advantage of the H1b premium processing in certain scenarios. H4 EAD application can be bundled with the spouse’s H1b extension package. And when such primary H1b application is applied or upgraded to premium processing, USCIS extends the premium processing to the EAD application too. So, you can get results within 15 days along with H1b results. If you plan ahead, you can take advantage of this convenient option like many others do. But note that the process for such bundled application is slightly different than process described in this guide. So, work with your H1b employer to do the bundled the EAD application.

H4 EAD Application fee

$410 as of January 2017 (It used to be $380 earlier). Check the latest USCIS filing fees Make a cashier’s check or personal check, payable to “US Department of Homeland Security”. No online payments are available at this point.

Form I-765

You would have to fill the form I-765 for requesting EAD. Make sure all the information are clear and correct. Importantly, the H4 applicant should sign the form. It’s a good idea to keep a copy of the completed form for own records.

USCIS also offers a service to notify you electronically (email, text), when your form I-765 is accepted at their facility. This is an optional service. But if you want to use it then you would have to include the completed form G-1145.

To avoid unnecessary delays, make sure the form is signed. And it should also be accompanied by the correct fee. USCIS will reject the application in either case. And you will have to refile with the issues fixed.

H4 EAD Documents checklist

Find printer friendly H4 EAD documents checklist

Documents from H4 visa holder
  • Check for $410, payable to “US Department of Homeland Security”
  • Two identical 2x2-inch color passport-style photo
  • Proof of H4 status
  • Identification document with photo
    • A copy of recent EAD (If available)
    • A copy of passport with biometric information (example: first and last page) and the visa page (if present)
    • A copy of birth certificate with photo ID
    • A copy of national photo ID
  • A copy of marriage certificate
  • Completed Form I-765
    • Write (c)(26) for eligibility criteria
  • Primary H1 visa holder document:
    • A copy of approved I-140 (I-797 approval notice). Request from your Employer or file a FOIA if not available
  • E-notification (optional): Completed form G-1145

H4 EAD filing address

Physical filing address varies according to the H1b principal’s I-797 approval notice. Also, the address given here are only for making a stand alone EAD card. If your making an EAD application in addition to a primary purpose like H4 extension or chage of status then you would send everything to the appropriate address for the primary application.

If the receipt number begins with EAC or LIN, then you would apply to USCIS Dallas lockbox. For U.S. Postal Service (USPS) First-Class and Priority Mail Express deliveries:

Attn: H4
P.O. Box 660921
Dallas, TX 75266

For overnight/courier deliveries (non-USPS):

Attn: H4
2501 S. State Hwy. 121 Business
Suite 400
Lewisville, TX 75067

If the receipt number begins with WAC, then you would apply to USCIS Phoenix lockbox. For U.S. Postal Service (USPS) First-Class and Priority Mail Express deliveries:

Attn: H4
P.O. Box 20400
Phoenix, AZ 85036

For overnight/courier deliveries (non-USPS):

Attn: H4
1820 E. Skyharbor Circle S
Suite 100
Phoenix, AZ 85034

H4 EAD approval times

Upon receiving the form, USCIS checks the form for completeness and accompanied evidences. The application will be rejected for any deficiency. Until USCIS accepts the application, the form is not considered properly filed.

Approval times vary depending on the work load received by USCIS. USCIS is required to make a decision of the application within 90 days. Depending on which center you apply, you can check USCIS current processing times. In addition, USCIS allows to request SR once the application is pending for 75 days or more.

If you have asked for e-Notification of H4 EAD application, then you would get a receipt number in a message like below (just a sample)

"On November 27, 2016, we received your Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization , Receipt Number EACXXXXXXXXX,
and sent you the receipt notice that describes how we will process your case. Please follow the instructions in the notice.
If you do not receive your receipt notice by December 26, 2016, please call Customer Service at 1-800-375-5283"

H4 EAD status

Once you get the receipt number, H4 EAD status can be checked on USCIS site.

Pending H4 EAD application don’t give any valid status for employment purposes. You are authorized to work only after the application is approved and only through the expiry date. Usually the EAD expiry date is tied to the H4 visa expiry. H4 EAD renewal can be started no sooner than 180 days prior to expiry.

H4 applicant also need to apply for Social Security Number (SSN) for getting back to work. SSN can be applied only after receiving the EAD card. And EAD approval notices cannot be used to apply SSN.

H4 EAD faq

Is there a minimum salary required for H4 EAD job?

No. H4 EAD doesn’t pronounce any minimum salary requirements.

Can form I 765 be filed electronically?

No electronic option available at this time.

Can I start working when my I 765 is pending?

No, you will have to wait until you receive the EAD card.

Is a copy of ITIN required for the application?

ITIN is not needed to apply for EAD. However, you would have to apply for H4 EAD SSN and rescind the ITIN you may already have

If I loose my job while in H4 EAD, do I loose status?

There is no need to work while holding a EAD card. So, if you happen to loose a job, you don’t loose any visa status. Your status is determined by the H4 visa and not by the EAD.

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