Spouses and unmarried minor children (i.e., under 21 years of age accompanying an H-1B nonimmigrant) may be granted an H-4 nonimmigrant visa (or status). In general, they cannot accept employment as H-4 nonimmigrants (unless they are otherwise authorized). However, effective May 26, 2015, DHS is extending eligibility for employment authorization to certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants who are seeking employment-based Green Cards. Specifically, certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrant workers who (1) are the principal beneficiaries of an approved I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, or (2) who have been granted H-1B nonimmigrant worker status under Sections 106(a) and (b) of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act of 2000, as amended by the 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act, may apply to USCIS for permission to accept employment.
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