Person writing on visa application.

Implementation of the rule rescinding H-4 work authorization has been delayed yet again. According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the proposed rule is not expected to be published in the Federal Register until spring 2020 at the earliest, but even that time frame may be aspirational. DHS provided an updated timeline in a letter submitted to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in the case of Save Jobs USA v. DHS.

DHS originally considered rescinding the H-4 work authorization program in response to President Donald Trump’s 2017 Buy American and Hire American Executive Order. In February 2019, DHS submitted its proposed rule for review to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), where it remains pending.

There have been no changes to the H-4 work authorization program. Under the current rules, eligible H-4 spouses can continue to apply for initial work authorization documents or renewals. Renewals can be filed up to six months before the expiration of the employment authorization document.

Ogletree Deakins’ Immigration Practice Group will continue to monitor developments with respect to the H-4 work authorization program and will post updates on the Immigration blog as additional information becomes available.


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Ogletree Deakins has one of the largest business immigration practices in the United States and provides a wide range of legal services for employers seeking temporary business visas and permanent residence on behalf of foreign national employees.

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