H-4 Work Authorization

The long awaited H-4 EAD card was included in the CIR draft that the Senate introduced. The catch here is that the country that the foreign national spouse (the H-4) is from must have a reciprocal agreement with the United States which allows for spouses of US workers in that country to receive employment authorization. We can assume that the process for receiving the EAD is similar to that of an L-2 EAD for which you file an I-765 with the USCIS and within 45-60 days, you receive the employment authorization card. Further, we can assume that the work authorization is unrestricted and that prevailing wage does not apply which allows for greater flexibility for these types of employees.

Currently, in India, the spouse of a US citizen receives an X (Entry) visa which appears to be the equivalent to an H4. The Indian Bureau of Immigration’s website states that a spouse may convert their X visa into an employment visa if the applicant fulfills the conditions for the employment visa and they have received approval from the Ministry of Home Affairs. It is unclear whether this qualifies as a reciprocal agreement as stated in the CIR bill.

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