Your top 15 questions answered for H4 EAD SSN recipients

You may have obtained your H4 EAD and getting ready to work. But before that you would have to apply for your Social Security Number (SSN). Because, your employer would need it for adding you to their payroll, doing back ground verification etc. Here is a list of frequently asked questions while applying for SSN.

I already had a SSN when I used to work when I was in a different visa. Do I still need to apply?

No, social security number is issues to an individual generally once. Hence if you already have one, start using it. You don’t have to apply again for the same.

What are the documents needed? And what is the procedure?

You will need your SSN application form, Passport, ID Proof, EAD card, and a print-out of your I-94 from the CBP website. And follow the procedure described on the SSA site.

How long does it take to get the SSN?

It may take anywhere between 1-4 weeks.

If you are in H4 EAD status, choose Legal alien allowed to work

I have a ITIN number, can I keep it while I receive my SSN?

You have to rescind your ITIN after you get your SSN. Your past tax documents filed using your ITIN number has to be associated to the new SSN number. You can send a letter to IRS, that you have a new SSN and you would like to associate the the previous tax records to your new SSN. And also attach a copy of the SSN card. Get more help from IRS site.

My EAD card has not arrived. Can I use the EAD approval notice to apply for SSN?

No. For the purpose of applying SSN, you would need the EAD card. You cannot apply with just the approval notice.

I got an H4 EAD with incorrect details. Can apply for SSN with this card?

Unfortunately, you can’t apply for SSN. SSA office will not accept cards with typos. You first have to get it corrected on the EAD card. While you can start looking for jobs, you cannot apply for SSN until the information is corrected. You can check with USCIS on how to correct the information. If you are in a hurry try to raise an expedited SR request.

Do I need to work if I get a SSN? Does my tax filing status change because of SSN?

No for both. You don’t have to work if you get your SSN. But if you already have ITIN, you have to rescind that by contacting IRS. And in general, your tax filing status do not change because of SSN. You can continue to file jointly if that’s what you have been doing.

Should we notify DMV about the change from ITIN to SSN?

Yes if you have a state ID card or a drivers license without SSN, you can contact the DMV and update your SSN. DMV may ask you to bring Passport, your new SSN etc.

Do we need to get an Employment letter from a employer to apply SSN?

Not needed. Job is not a criteria for applying for SSN. So, you can apply for SSN whether you plan to work or not. It may be a good idea to apply for SSN before landing a job as the employer would ask for SSN and you can avoid unnecessary delays.

My EAD has a future effective date, can I apply for SSN before that date?

No you cannot. You can apply only when you have a valid EAD card. If the card becomes active in a future date, then you would have to wait until the start date.

The agent at SSA office told me that she cannot verify my EAD details and that she needs more time to verify. What can be done?

This is a common scenario. You don’t have to worry about it. USCIS maintains a database of approved EAD applicants. And there may be a lag in updating the database. If SSA office cannot find your information in the SAVE database then they may ask for more time to wait for verifying your details. SSA agent would basically post your information to USCIS for verification. While you are waiting for the verification, you can check the status of your case. It may take anywhere between 2-4 weeks or more. Should there be a prolonged wait, you can try calling USCIS to get the status. Once the status of your case on the SAVE website changes from “Under review” to “returned to the agency”, you can expect your SSN shortly (1-2 weeks). But if there is further delay, you can check with your local SSA office. If they say they haven’t received any update from USCIS, you can mention that you spoke with USCIS (http://www.uscis.gov/save/contact-save) and that they will not divulge any information to the application and instead wants the agency to call them directly on the toll free number (in the contact SAVE website). Alternatively, some people have found success by taking a print out of the SAVE status page and show them. Remember to make all information available to the SSA agent and be courteous. The whole process might take 4 weeks.


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Find Alien Registration Number on your H1b, F1, I140 (with Samples)

Alien registration number is an unique 7-9 digit unique number assigned by USCIS to permanent immigrants of the U.S. It is also commonly referred to as “A-number” (A#) or Alien number or USCIS number.

How do I find my alien registration number?

If you think you have one, here are your options,

Options

Alien registration number on H1b

Not all H1b visa holders have an assigned Alien number. USCIS assigns one, only after the person’s permanent immigration petition is approved. Until then, Alien number cannot be obtained from your H1b documents.

Alien number is printed on the H1B approval notice for an individual who has a previously approved I-140 application. Generally, USCIS assigns A# to a person after the person’s permanent residency petition, such as I140 is approved. Any subsequent H1b extension, transfer approvals notices will contain the Alien registration number. The number can be found above the person’s name in the “Beneficiary”section. It will be of the format “A123 456 789”

alien registration number-h1b

However, the Alien number obtained from the previous I140 approvals should have been included in the subsequent H1b applications to USCIS. Otherwise, it will not be automatically printed on the H1b approval notices. And H1b application receipt notices will not have it.

Alien registration number on F1

F1 visa, like the H1b is not a permanent residency visa. Hence, there are no A-number assigned to a student. However, one is generated when the student applies for OPT EAD. The number is printed on the EAD card.

Alien registration number on EAD

If you have a Employment Authorization Document (EAD), your A-number would be printed on the card. It may be called USCIS # on the card. Typically, for students who are on F1 visa and who have obtained OPT work permit, this is an easy way to get their number.

alien registration number

Alien registration number on I140

This is the most straight forward way to get your I140 approval notices. Alien number is assigned by USCIS on I140 petition approval. A# number will be printed on your I140 approval notice.

Alien registration number on Green Card

If you have a Green Card, your A-number will be printed on the card. Some old cards may have it printed on the back of the card, while most of the cards have it printed on the front.

alien registration number

Ask USCIS Alien registration number

If you are not able to find your USCIS number in your existing immigration documents, you can get it directly from USCIS through their infopass appointment. Since the USCIS number is personal and confidential information, USCIS does not share it over phone. So schedule an infopass appointment and be prepared to present your ID proof. Upon verification, USCIS will disclose your number. It’s a free service from USCIS.

Does A# appear in I-94?

No A# is not printed on the I-94. Not all immigrants have a USCIS#. And even for the ones that have one, it’s not printed on the I-94.

Typically, USCIS assigns a A-number for immigrants applying for permanent residency (green card). It is also assigned in other situations like at the time of applying for employment authorization document (EAD). A-number is unique to an individual, hence, it’s almost like a social security number for immigration. USCIS archives all the immigration applications and documents identified by the A-number of the individual. And the same can be obtained by filing a USCIS FOIA through the A-number.


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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-sample

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:

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

For overnight/courier deliveries (non-USPS):

USCIS
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:

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

For overnight/courier deliveries (non-USPS):

USCIS
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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