USCIS announced on Feb 24, 2015 that certain H4 dependent spouses of H-1B non-immigrants will be able to file for EAD (Employment Authorization Card which is a permit to work in USA) starting May 26, 2015. The eligibility rules are as follows:
1. Spouse on H-1B must be on H4 status. This means if a spouse is on other status like F1 or H-1B or some other status, the spouse must change his/her status to H4 before being eligible for this EAD.
And also must meet one of the following:
2a. H-1B must have an approved I-140 petition with current employer.
2b. H-1B must have an approved I-140 petition from previous employer which has not been revoked. This is the case when H-1B person has switched to another employer, and his current employer either has not started PERM or I-140 yet or is in the process of PERM or I-140.
2c. H-1B has extended its status beyond 6 years by using AC21.
Full announcement is here:
This rule has been in the making for several years (almost for about 4 years), and really picked up the speed since last year (2014) and went through the normal rule making process and cleared all hurdles. Several people worked really hard to make this rule a reality, but most notably are Rashi and Anirban Das (twitter: @kamakazee_9) and some others. These people along with several others met with authorities in Washington D.C. (USA) a couple of times to discuss H4 EAD, and attended several teleconferences. Rashi had created a facebook page to start H4 EAD campaign : https://www.facebook.com/H4visaacurse . This facebook campaign by Rashi had featured in several media articles and helped provide a common platform to raise H4 EAD voice collectively. These people along with several others really took advantage of social media and carried out many campaigns via twitter and also emailed/faxed to concerned authorities on daily basis to “make a noise”. There has been the longest running thread to discuss H4 EAD on trackiit.com (http://www.trackitt.com/usa-discussion-forums/i765/740339151/ead-for-h4-visa-holders/page/last_page) and this thread was started by a trackitt member karthiksubbu. Hundreds of people joined this trackitt thread to discuss H4 EAD and participated in various social media campaigns. Kudos to Rashi, Anirban and all other hundreds of people to bring this historic rule to conclusion, and also a big thank you to all concerned authorities in USA who listened to these people and passed H4 EAD rule finally. Fight for immigrants is still not over and future hopes rely on the executive actions started by US president Barak Obama on November 20, 2014 and the details are here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/immigration/immigration-action.