Court Affirms DHS Power to Implement the H-4 EAD Rule

On March 28, 2023, the U. S. District Court for the District of Columbia held that the program that allows certain H-4 spouses to apply for employment authorization documents (EADs) was lawfully promulgated. Save Jobs USA, an organization of U.S. workers had challenged the H-4 EAD rule.

Background on H-4 EAD Rule

H-4 EADs are available to H-4 spouses if certain conditions are met. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) implemented the H-4 EAD regulation, which went into effect on May 26, 2015. More information on H-4 EADs is available in the NewsBrief, Overview of the New H-4 EAD Rule (25.Feb.2015). Since the rule was implemented, the H-4 EAD program has benefited the U.S. economy and thousands of H-4 spouses, their families, and their employers.

Court Affirmed Validity of the H-4 EAD Rule

Save Jobs USA argued that the DHS did not have the statutory authority to grant H-4 spouses employment authorization. The court found this argument unpersuasive, consistent with an earlier decision in which it held that the Secretary of the DHS has “the power to authorize employment reasonably related to the nonimmigrant visa class.” Therefore, the authority to create the H-4 EAD program was within the power of the DHS.


This decision by the federal court is not surprising, but still is welcome news for H-4 spouses across the nation. We reiterate that the court’s decision did not result in the creation of a new rule, but simply affirmed the validity of the existing H-4 EAD rule allowing certain H-4 spouses to avail of the EAD option.


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