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How to Expedite H4 EAD Application without Premium Processing Request?

There isn't a premium processing option for the H4 EAD I-765 application. However, you can file an Expedite Request. In situations where time is crucial, like needing to maintain employment or secure a new job, expediting your H4 EAD application is essential.

For instance, an immediate job opportunity may require the EAD as soon as possible to start work, or simply to continue in your current job. Alternatively, consider a scenario where one loses their job and, due to a lapse in the grace period, switches to an H4 visa, expecting to obtain the H4 EAD quickly to resume employment.

Table of Contents: H4 EAD Expedite Request

In these situations, you can speed up your EAD application in a few ways. One of the simplest options is to submit an expedited request with USCIS. If your request is accepted, you can expect much faster processing for your H4 EAD application. There is no application fee for expedited requests.

In this blog, I will explain the various ways to speed up your H4 EAD application. While you may not fit into all the scenarios mentioned below, you can decide based on your situation.

USCIS Inquiry Date

If you're experiencing significant delays in processing your H4 EAD application, one option is to "Get Inquiry Date". If your application is indeed delayed, USCIS will provide you with the option to submit a service request online.

Check the current H4 EAD processing time for the center where your application was submitted. Refer to the initial three letters of your receipt number for service center details.

  • WAC – Western Adjudication Center (California Service Center)

  • SRC – Southern Regional Center (Texas Service Center)

  • LIN – Lincoln Service Center (Nebraska Service Center)

  • EAC – Eastern Adjudication Center (Vermont Service Center)

H4 EAD Processing Times

H4 EAD + COS Processing Times

This will provide you with the processing time for 80% of the cases. If your receipt date falls beyond this timeframe, you may be eligible to request an inquiry.

To request an inquiry, visit the USCIS website select the form type, center, and submit, then scroll to the bottom of the page and enter your receipt date to obtain the inquiry date. If your application is significantly delayed, this process will automatically offer you the option to submit an inquiry.

USCIS Inquiry

H4 EAD Expedite Request

While USCIS generally doesn't provide expedited processing for H4 EAD applications, under certain circumstances like severe financial loss, emergencies, or humanitarian reasons, you can request expedited processing. Generally, this involves reaching out to USCIS directly, either by phone or through their virtual assistant Emma.

Examples of such circumstances include financial loss, new job opportunities, emergencies, and humanitarian reasons. It's important to note that expedited processing differs from premium processing.

When submitting an expedited request for an H4 EAD, having the right documents can significantly impact your case.

Documents such as medical bills, house loan papers, auto loan documents, bank statements, and credit card bills can effectively demonstrate the financial challenges you're facing and why you must be able to work.

Alternatively, you can highlight the financial challenges you will encounter if you lose your job due to an expired EAD.

For instance, medical bills prove unexpected expenses, while house and auto loans demonstrate financial commitments. Credit card bills show ongoing expenses that need to be met.

Providing these documents strengthens your case and increases the chances of getting approval for the H4 EAD expedited request. You can find a few sample expedited request letter samples for H4 EAD applications in the link provided.

How to contact USCIS to make an Expedite Request?

To make an Expedite request, you have the following options:

  • Phone Call: You can call the USCIS Contact Center at 800-375-5283 (TTY 800-767-1833).

  • Emma (USCIS Virtual Assistant): You can use Emma, the USCIS virtual assistant, available on the USCIS website.

You can also dive into more detailed information on this, starting with examples and step-by-step instructions on how to initiate the expedited request by visiting the following blog.

Contacting a Congressman

Another option is to reach out to a senator or congressman. While contacting them doesn't guarantee EAD approval, they can certainly assist in expediting your EAD application. To request their assistance, you can visit their official website and search for sections related to visa and immigration help or federal agency assistance.

To support your expedited request, you'll need to provide evidence of financial loss or an emergency. This documentation will serve as the basis for your request and strengthen your case for expedited processing. You can read about this in detail in the following blog.

H4 EAD with H1B Premium Processing

This scenario is very unique though, suppose you lose your job while on an H1B visa, and your 60-day grace period ends. One option could be switching to an H4 visa if your spouse holds an H1B visa (with an approved I-140) and you intend to obtain an EAD for employment. However, it's important to note that this transition can be a very time-consuming process.

In this case, you can expedite your application by applying for an H1B to H4 change of status and H4 EAD concurrently with the primary H1B premium processing. This option is applicable only when you are filing for an H4 Change of Status (COS) and H4 EAD, along with the primary H1B petition (Form I-129).

Imagine a situation where the primary H1B holder needs to extend or renew their petition, while the dependent needs to transition to an H4 visa through a change of status and simultaneously apply for an H4 EAD. You can read about this process in detail here.

Applying from Outside the US

If the primary H1B holder doesn't need to extend or renew their visa anytime soon, it may be more efficient to travel back to their home country and apply for an H4 visa using the DS-160 form. This process tends to be much faster.

Once you obtain the H4 visa, return to the US and apply for the H4 EAD. You can begin looking for a job at this point. After applying for the H4 EAD, you can request expedited processing once you receive the receipt number.

H1B to B1/B2 back to H1B

In this situation, assuming you have an approved I-140 and are waiting for your priority date to become current, and you don't have the flexibility to switch to an H4 visa, individuals often move to a B1/B2 visa if they can't find a job within the 60-day grace period while staying in the US.

In this case, the expectation is that once you find a job, you will switch back to an H1B. You can find the current processing time for the change of status to an H4 dependent visa in the link provided.

However, the processing time for a change of status to a B1/B2 status is so long (table shown above), that you might find yourself in a tough situation, wondering whether you should leave the country or wait for the B1/B2 change of status result first.

  • Some employers make it mandatory to undergo consular processing, which can sometimes result in 221(g) administrative processing, a process with no definitive timeline for the final result.

  • Due to this uncertainty, employers sometimes avoid hiring candidates facing such circumstances and opt for those with work authorization.

  • Additionally, some employers take advantage of this situation by requiring candidates to pay premium processing fees for H1B applications and lawyer fees, typically offering lower compensation.

The good news is that you can file a new H1B petition (change of status) while your B1/B2 application is pending, and it can be processed in premium processing.

USCIS states that both the change of status to B1/B2 and the change of status back to H1B will be processed together. You can read about this process in detail in the following blog.

FAQs on H4 EAD Expedite Request

Can job loss be considered as financial loss for an H4 EAD expedited request?

Yes, job loss can be portrayed as a significant financial setback. By providing documents such as mortgage bills, auto loans, home insurance, and credit card statements, you can demonstrate the immediate financial loss from unemployment.

These documents underscore the pressing need for the EAD to avoid substantial financial losses. Additionally, highlighting potential repercussions like the possibility of selling assets such as the house or car, as well as the potential disruption to children's education mid-session, further emphasizes the urgency of expediting the EAD process.

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Hi, thanks for the detailed post. Im currently on L2 dependent EAD with i140 approved for the primary L1, Primary is changing to H1b and my status will change to H4 starting october, Im currently working, looking at the current situation of H4 EAD process time, do I need to quit the job or is there a way to expedite EAD and continue working?

Replying to

Hi Karthiga, Under the Edakunni settlement, your H1B employer can file all three applications together: the primary H1B visa holder petition (I-129, request in premium processing), the dependent switching to H4 (I-539), and the H4 EAD (I-765). If this does not work as intended, then you can try expediting the process by showing job loss as a financial situation. Typically, concurrent filing of H1B (in premium processing), H4, and EAD will get you the EAD much faster. Thanks.


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