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OIS NEWS – 3/1/2019

Proposed DHS Rule Rescinding H-4 Employment Authorization Expected Soon

As announced by the Office of International Services in 2018, the Department of Homeland Security previously decided to delay rescinding a 2015 final rule that currently permits certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B principal immigrants to apply for and renew employment authorization from U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services. However, OIS has learned that DHS has now formally submitted a proposed rule that would eventually rescind employment authorization eligibility for all H-4 dependent spouses. Based on related litigation currently pending in federal court, publication of this proposed rule is expected in the Federal Register before March 18, 2019. Because DHS is required by law to utilize notice-and-comment rulemaking and consider public comments before finalizing any rule, it is expected that the earliest any publication of a final rule rescinding H-4 employment authorization will occur will be this summer, but the final rule may not be published until fall 2019, or possibly later.


If a final rule is issued rescinding H-4 employment eligibility, it is generally expected that existing H-4 Employment Authorization Documents (cards) will be allowed to expire after the final rule is implemented. At that point, individuals in H-4 status will not be permitted to apply for new or extended employment authorization from USCIS. However, details providing exact timing and expiration dates will not be absolutely known until the final rule is published by DHS.


OIS will continue to monitor the DHS proposed rulemaking relating to H-4 employment authorization, and will update the UIC community accordingly. As always, if there are any questions or concerns about these announcements, please feel free to contact us at or (312) 996-3121.