If the Trump Administration does away with H-4 EADs, what options do we have?


As of the time of this writing, the Trump Administration has not taken any actions to modify or eliminate the H-4 EAD program. Further, even if the Administration decides to cancel the program, this would very likely require a formal rule-making process, which would take several months or longer.

That being said, in the event that the H-4 EAD program is terminated, this would leave few options for most H-4 spouses. Those who have previously been counted against the H1B cap, and have not used the full 6 years of H1B time (or are eligible to extend beyond 6 years based on an approved I-140 or a labor certification or I-140 that has been pending for at least 365 days), could move back to H1B status. For those who have not been counted against the H1B cap, however, filing in this year’s H1B lottery may be something worth considering.

Depending on one’s circumstances, there may be other ways to obtain work authorization. For instance, those who have a pending I-485 can apply for an EAD. Canadian and Mexican professionals may qualify for TN status. Australian citizens may be eligible for E-3, while citizens of Singapore and Chile may qualify for H1B1 status. It is an option to remain in H-4 status, but unfortunately most H-4 spouses would be left without the option of working while in the U.S. (27.Feb.2017)

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