Some Speedy H-4 EAD Approvals

The option for qualifying H-4 spouses to apply for employment authorization documents (EADs) began May 26, 2015. Although it was widely expected that it would take several months for the first approval notices to arrive, the Murthy Law Firm is happy to report that at least some of these applications are being processed within a matter of weeks, instead of months.

Some H-4 EADs Approved in a Month

On July 6, 2015, the first batch of H-4 EAD approval notices arrived for clients of the Murthy Law Firm. These notices were for cases that had actually been approved on June 30th. Most of the H-4 EAD applications filed by the firm are still pending as of the time of this writing, but it is still an encouraging sign that at least some of these applications are being adjudicated rather quickly. Note that standard processing time for EAD applications is 90 days, and many cases take far longer, as evidenced by the class action lawsuit filed against the government in May involving EAD processing delays.

Longer Processing Time if COS to H-4 with EAD

The approval notices received by the Murthy Law Firm were for EAD requests filed by individuals who held H-4 status at the time of filing. This is different from an individual who concurrently filed a request for a change of status (COS) to H-4 along with the EAD application. Such cases are expected to have longer processing times.

EAD Durations Tied to H-4 Duration

As expected, the validity periods of the H-4 EAD approvals received so far match the duration of the individual’s H-4 status. This is consistent with stated USCIS policy. The result is that the EAD is valid for only a fairly short period in some cases, while in others the validity is close to three years.


The Murthy Law Firm is excited to see the first H-4 EAD approval notices arriving so soon and understands just how important this work authorization is to the foreign nationals who have been waiting for years. Applicants whose cases are still pending should not view these early approvals as a cause for concern. Rather, with the huge influx of applications, it was inevitable that some applications would be adjudicated more quickly than others. To keep informed about the H-4 EAD rule and other immigration law issues, subscribe to the free MurthyBulletin.


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Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.