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Judge makes ruling impacting individuals who have H-4 visas

On Behalf of | Nov 18, 2020 | Immigration Law

Foreign nationals who are employed in Kentucky or elsewhere throughout the United States on H-1B visas may be entitled to automatic renewal of their work permits. However, their spouses are not eligible for an automatic renewal according to a recent court ruling.

How does the spouse of an H-1B visa holder obtain work authorization?

Those who immigrate from India and certain other nations may wait decades before they can obtain their green cards. Therefore, the Obama Administration decided to allow spouses of those who travel to the United States from those nations using an H-1B visa to obtain work authorization if the visa holder meets certain criteria. For instance, if that person is on a trajectory to become a permanent resident, his or her spouse can seek approval to obtain employment.

Why isn’t automatic renewal available to spouses of visa holders?

The judge who issued the ruling said that automatic renewal is only available when it doesn’t rely on the adjudication of another petition. However, in cases involving spouses of those in the United States on an H-1 visa, two separate rulings would need to be made to determine a person’s ability to work while in the country. First, the H-1B visa holder would need to have his or her petition renewed. At that point, that person’s spouse would need to have his or her H-4 visa renewed.

An immigration attorney may be able to help you obtain legal status in the United States. If you are the spouse of an H-1B visa holder, an immigration attorney may assist with the process of obtaining authorization to work while living in the country. Legal counsel might also explain why a visa petition was denied or why you are not eligible to find a job.