Eligible H-4 dependent spouses may now apply for employment authorization (EAD/work permit) under the H-4 rule (explained in an earlier blog post). On February 24, 2015, USCIS announced that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would begin accepting applications for employment authorization from certain H-4 spouses on May 26, 2015.
Starting today, you may apply for employment authorization under this rule if your H-1B spouse has:
(a) an approved I-140 (petition for immigrant worker) or
(b) an extension of H-1B status past the initial 6-year limit
The H-4 spouse can apply for work authorization using Form I-765, available here. The application can be filed with another petition (e.g. extension/change of status), or separately. The H-4 spouse can start working when they receive their Employment Authorization Document, which will be valid for the remainder of the H-4 status - up to three years. The EAD allows for open market employment, in any field.
For more information on applying for employment authorization under the H-4 rule, please visit the Employment Authorization for Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses Web page and the USCIS list of Frequently Asked Questions.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has unexpectedly announced that it will temporarily suspend premium processing for all H-1B Extension of Stay petitions starting on May 26, 2015. The suspension will continue through July 27, 2015. During this time frame, petitioners will not be able to file Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, for a Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, requesting an extension of H-1B status. The announcement only applies to extension requests.
Any Premium Processing requests filed before May 26 will be honored, although the announcement continues to state that USCIS will refund the premium processing fee if:
This temporary suspension will apparently allow USCIS to implement the Employment Authorization for Certain H-4 Spouses final rule in a timely manner and adjudicate applications for employment authorization filed by H-4 nonimmigrants under the new regulations.
Please contact us if you have any questions about the new announcement.
Wednesday, May 20, 2015, is the deadline for eligible nationals of Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone (and people without nationality who last habitually resided in one of those three countries) to register for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). The TPS designation runs from Nov. 21, 2014, through May 21, 2016.
To be eligible for TPS, you must demonstrate that you meet all eligibility criteria, including that you have been “continuously residing” in the United States since Nov. 20, 2014, and “continuously physically present in” the United States since Nov. 21, 2014. You must also undergo thorough security checks. Individuals with certain criminal records or who pose a threat to national security are not eligible for TPS.
Additionally, you may apply for TPS even if you are a Liberian national currently covered under the two-year extension of Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) based on President Obama’s Sept. 26, 2014 memorandum. If you are a DED-covered Liberian national and your have an EAD or have applied for an EAD, you do not need to apply for another EAD related to this TPS designation. However, if you are granted TPS, you may request a TPS-related EAD at a later date as long as the TPS designation for Liberia remains in effect.
To register, you must submit:
1. Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status.
2. The biometrics services fee (or a fee-waiver request) if you are 14 years old or older.
3. Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, regardless of whether you want an EAD.
The Form I-765 application fee or a fee-waiver request, but only if you want an EAD. If you do not want an EAD, no application fee is required. There is no I-765 fee for initial applicants under the age of 14, or 66 and over; these applicants may receive their initial EAD cards for free.
Fees and Fee Waivers
If you cannot pay the fee, you may request that we waive the Form I-765 application fee or biometrics fee. However, you must file Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver, or submit a written request. You must also send in supporting documentation with your fee-waiver request. We will reject your TPS application if you do not submit the required filing fees or a properly documented fee-waiver request.
Additional information about TPS for Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone —including guidance on eligibility, the application process and where to file—is available at uscis.gov/tps.
This Web alert is also available in French.
See here for a link to the forms mentioned in this post.
The US immigration service (USCIS) has announced several immigration measures designed to help Nepali nationals in the US. The relief that may be available to Nepali nationals who are affected by recent earthquake include:
For more information on this relief, see the USCIS press release here.
Elaine Martin has been practising US and global immigration law since 1997. She is an immigrant herself (from Ireland), so has a special understanding of the legal and emotional challenges involved in relocating to a new country.