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How Early Can I File My H-4 and H-4 EAD Renewals

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What Form Do I Need to Complete when Renewing My EAD?

An Employment Authorization Document (EAD) is issued to H4 visa holders who are legal dependent spouses of an H1B visa holder. It makes the holders eligible to work once they come to the United States. The EAD comes with an expiration date, after which you can no longer be eligible to work unless you extend its validity.

When applying for a H4 EAD, you must fill out Form I-765 and submit the relevant documents. When applying for your EAD renewal, you will submit Form I-539 and package the application with the necessary supporting documents. Immigration Law Attorneys in Houston provide an overview of what you need to know for a favorable outcome.

When Should I File My H4 and H4 EAD Renewals?

EADs are usually valid for one to two years, but variations exist depending on specific categories. According to instructions issued on the USCIS website, you can’t file for an EAD renewal more than 6 months before your original EAD expires. Unfortunately, processing times are between eight and a half months to one year.

If you can’t file more than six months in advance but processing time may take more than six months, you may experience an employment authorization gap. Additionally, if you’re concurrently filing an extension of your H4, the processing time can extend to 19 months, as the EAD renewal depends on the H4 approval.

If you’re in a dilemma or experiencing employment authorization challenges, consult skilled Immigration Law Attorneys in Houston. They can help you navigate this challenge. One way is to file Forms I-539, I-765, and I-129 concurrently. Generally, your EAD renewal request should not be denied because you filed more than 6 months in advance.

What Is the 180-Day Extension Rule for EAD Renewal?

In May 2022, the USCIS announced that it would implement a temporary rule to increase the automatic EAD extension period to up to 540 days. The extension would be available for certain EAD renewal applicants. However, the automatic extension reverted to the original 180-day period beginning October 27, 2023. All previous 540-day automatic extensions remained in place.

If you are an EAD renewal applicant who has filed Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization), you may be eligible for an automatic 180-day extension of your expiring authorization and EAD while your application is pending. However, you must meet the following conditions to qualify:

  • You must properly file Form I-765 for EAD renewal before the expiry of the current one
  • You must qualify for a renewal, meaning your renewal application is under a category eligible for automatic extension.
  • The category on your current EAD should also match the category requested on Form 1-797C

How Can I Prove Automatic Extension?

Your Form I-797C receipt notice serves as proof of the automatic extension of EAD or its validity. The Notice refers to the 180-day extension and must be accompanied by your qualifying EAD and unexpired Form I-94 if you’re an H4 dependent spouse.

Houston employment authorization attorneys advise that your automatic extension period may terminate before the maximum period. This can happen automatically if the USCIS issues a denial of your Form I-765 renewal application or upon Notice. For guidance on completing Form 1-94 for automatic extensions and EAD processing, Houston immigration attorneys can help.

What Documents Should I Submit with My EAD Renewal Application?

The USCIS is often overwhelmed with the number of applications the officers have to handle on any given day. As much as possible, you want to ensure you’ve gathered all the necessary documents before filing your application. Employment authorization lawyers in Houston highlight the following list of crucial documents:

  • Copies of your Form I-94, non-immigrant arrival or departure notice
  • Copies of both sides of your existing EAD card
  • Two passport-sized photos, which must be recently taken within the last 30 days of your application
  • ID document issued by the government
  • Proof of valid immigration status, which is a copy of your most recent I-797 Approval
  • Receipt for EAD renewal fee
  • Form G1145 e-Notification

Ensure you follow the instructions carefully when filing for the renewal of your EAD, as that might go a long way in reducing the time it takes to process it.

What is the Process of Applying for EAD Renewal?

The steps for filing your EAD renewal application are generally as follows:

  • Filling out Form I-765
  • Paying the filing fee
  • Filing fee waiver if you’re eligible, especially due to economic or medical reasons
  • Submitting the completed form and the supporting documents
  • Waiting for the USCIS to process your application, which could take up to 90 days from the submission date

The 90-day processing period is not guaranteed, and it could be longer or shorter, depending on various factors, such as the USCIS workload. You can check for updates on the progress of your application by visiting the USCIS website and using the number on your Notice of receipt to check the status. Houston Immigration Law Attorneys can help if you encounter any challenges.

A Skilled Immigration Lawyer Helping You Navigate EAD Application and Renewal

The H4 EAD enables you to work in the United States if you’re a spouse or dependent of an H1B visa holder. You may not be able to work upon its expiration, which can create an employment gap. Houston Immigration Law Attorneys recommend starting the renewal process as early as possible, ideally 180 days before its expiry. That leaves ample time for the processing.

At the Law Office of Shelle-Ann Simon, PLLC, we have dedicated employment authorization lawyers who can help you navigate the changing tides of the immigration system. Whatever type of visa you want to apply for or renew, you don’t have to figure it all alone. Call us at 281-606-0800 to schedule a case evaluation.

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