Prompt action sees Employment Authorization Cards mailed out.
By Sujeet Rajan
NEW YORK: The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services has been prompt in responding to applications filed by certain qualified H4 visa holders for Employment Authorizations Cards (EAD), also known as work permits.
Some H4 visa holders who had applied for work permits on the first day the USCIS began to accept applications, May 26th, 2015, have got it already. It’s surprising since there have been reports of renewal of EAD cards getting delayed, and being stretched to the full 90 day time limit.
A source who had applied for an H4 visa revealed to The American Bazaar, that while she was still waiting for it herself, after ensuring that her application reached the USCIS on the May 26th, some others she knew who had applied for the work permit had received it already. The source spoke on the condition of anonymity.
USCIS Director León Rodríguez had earlier in the year made the important announcement, ending months of speculation as to how long the H4 visa holders have to wait to get the EAD cards.
“Allowing the spouses of these visa holders to legally work in the United States makes perfect sense,” Rodríguez had then said. “It helps U.S. businesses keep their highly skilled workers by increasing the chances these workers will choose to stay in this country during the transition from temporary workers to permanent residents. It also provides more economic stability and better quality of life for the affected families.”
According to USCIS rules, once applications for the EAD are received, the cards have to be issued within 90 days, so in all likelihood those who qualify will be able to get it by August 26, 2015.
Not all H4 visa holders are eligible for the EAD cards though: the USCIS will issue the cards to only those H4 visa holders who are the beneficiaries of an approved Immigration Petition for Immigrant Worker (Form 1-140), or those who are the spouses of H-1B visa holders who have got an extension of their authorized period of admission in the US, beyond the permitted six years that is.
It was widely reported that it’s likely that as many as 179,600 H4 visa holders may be eligible in the first year the cards will be issued, and subsequently as many as 55,000 annually. Once USCIS approves the Form I-765 and the H4 dependent spouse receives an EAD, he or she may begin working in the United States. There is no bar on the work he or she does.
The granting of EAD cards has come after three years when it was first proposed in February, 2012. It made little progress till April of last year when the White House issued the guidelines for the cards to be issued. And then came a period for public comments and official procedures. President Barack Obama also made it part of his Executive Action in November of last year. The USCIS finally submitted the final rule for the White House to approve it earlier this month, and which it did.