H1B dependents legally work: 2 minutes read
H1B visas are awarded each year based on a variety of factors, and they are a visa program that is strictly linked to employment at American companies.
You might know that H1B visa recipients can travel to the U.S. to work a specific job as part of an employment contract. What you might not know is that their family dependents, namely spouses, are allowed to enter the United States with the visa recipient.
Considering the H1B program basically results in these individuals and families uprooting their lives to move to the U.S., it makes sense to ask:
Can spouses legally work in the United States while living here?
An example, dependent work permits are not automatically given as a part of the H1B visa distribution.
Families interested in applying for the work permits with their dependent status, also known as H4 visas, must first establish eligibility.
Note that H4 status unmarried children under 21 years of age are not eligible.
Let’s back up for a second.
Before an H4 can be approved to work, these interested applicants must also complete an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). With an EAD, you may work on a part-time, full-time or short-term basis for any U.S. employer.
Your EAD will be valid for as long as you hold H4 status, which in turn will rely on your family member’s H1B status. H1B status lasts for an initial 3 years, with the option, where eligible, to extend to a total of 6 years.
If your spouse is required to renew their H1B visa, you will also be required to renew your H4 visa and EAD.
To be eligible for employment authorization as an H1B dependant:
H1B dependents legally work
As an H4 visa holder, you must reside in the US at the time of your EAD application.
Many questions arise in the application and eligibility processes.
If you are an H1B applicant looking to obtain a work permit for your spouse in the United States, contact our team of immigration attorneys to help guide you through this great program.