Can H4 EAD work on receipt (Is a 540-Day Auto Extension allowed?)

H4 EAD can work while extension pending & card expired if H4 i94 is valid. Automatic 180-day extension allowed by USCIS. L2 does not need EAD to work.

Written by AM22Tech Team
  AM22Tech Team    Updated 2 Jul, 24

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L2 dependents can work without filing an EAD. Earlier, they were required to file the i765 form explicitly but it is not required now.

H4 dependents need to file the H4 EAD i765 application before they can work in the US.

H4 EAD can get an automatic EAD extension up to 540 days if

  • EAD renewal is filed before the current EAD expiry
  • AND H4 i94 is valid

If an EAD is required for your case, you can work until you get the renewed EAD card in your hand or if you are eligible for auto-extension.

USCIS announced that a 540-day EAD auto extension will be allowed for applications filed till 30 Sep 2025.

  • i485 or Green card EAD (code C09) are allowed to use the automatic 180 EAD extension too.
  • L2 EAD holders whose category code is A(1)(8) can now work by using their L2 i94. No need to file form i765.
  • A (C05) J-2 spouse or minor child of a J-1 exchange visitor cannot work based on receipt for their EAD extension.

Interim EAD – Work for Some Days?

Many people ask if they can keep working based on the H4 EAD extension receipt even after the current one has expired for a couple of days.

The answer is that you cannot work after the expiration of your EAD card validity. You have to stop working the same day the EAD expires unless you are covered under the auto-extension policy.

i765 Notice of Action

The i765 notice of action (i797) sent by USCIS has a general language that you are allowed to keep working for up to 180 days.

H4 EAD notice says 180 day automatic extension is not valid for H4 EAD
H4 EAD notice says a 180-day automatic extension is not valid for H4 EAD

Note that this is a generic message about 180 automatic renewals available if your EAD application is pending in the category allowed by USCIS.

Interim EAD is given to help the continued employment when USCIS is taking time to approve the EAD renewal application.

Can I work if H4 EAD Renewal is in the process?

You cannot work if your existing H4 EAD card has expired and your H4 i94 has expired while renewal is in process.

Unpaid Leaves or Termination

Some employers and attorneys suggest going on ‘unpaid leave’ and returning to work once you have got your new EAD card.

In our opinion, the job should be terminated by the employer and you can rejoin once you get an H4 EAD work permit.

  • Many attorneys recommend that your employer terminate your employment and I-9 to avoid unnecessary compliance issues later.
  • The employer has to fill out form I-9 to report legal employment to the government and IRS and hence cannot keep you on the payroll.

It is also for your benefit to stop working as the status issues might crop up at the time of green card processing, which may hurt more than a couple of days or a month’s salary now.

You can talk to your employer and attorney to check if they are okay with letting you go on a leave of absence while your EAD card renewal is pending.

Auto EAD Extension

How to get H4 EAD Auto Extension with short i94? This is the most asked question on our H4 EAD forum.

There are some practical options available:

#1 Visit the US land border (Fastest)

You can visit the US Mexico or US Canada border and request a new H4 i94 based on H1B approved i797.

If they issue a new extended H4 i94 based on the extended H1B i94, you will be eligible for H4 EAD auto extension until this earliest of this date:

  • the new H4 i94 expiry
  • or the 540 days until 30 Sep 2025 (or 180 days after 30 Sep 2025)

#2 Get H4 Visa Stamp from US Embassy

The second option is to travel outside the US and get a new H4 visa stamp in passport using the extended H1B i797 approval.

You can then enter the US using the new H4 visa stamp and they will issue a new H4 i94.

If you had filed H4 EAD before the previous H4 i94 expiry, you will be eligible for Auto EAD extension now till this date:

  • the new H4 i94 expiry
  • or the 540 days until 30 Sep 2025 (or 180 days after 30 Sep 2025)

It is recommended that you send this new i94 copy to USCIS and request them to attach it to your pending H4 EAD extension file.

#3 File H1B, H4 and EAD in premium

As per the new USCIS rule, they will process all 3 applications in premium i.e. within 15 calendar days if you file all of them at the same time and in the same package.

This is the fastest way to get H4 EAD approved at this time. There will be no need for H4 EAD auto extension in this case.

Auto EAD Extension Categories

USCIS only allows some EAD categories to keep working even after EAD expiry if you have filed the extension before the current EAD approval expires.

H4 EAD category is C(26) and it is part of the automatic EAD extension allowed list: A03, A05, A07, A08, A10, C08, C09, C10, C16, C20, C22, C24, C31, and A12 or C19.

The green card EAD category is C09.


Can I work on the H4 EAD receipt?

You cannot work on the H4 EAD receipt or an approval status on the USCIS website unless you have the valid H4 i94 which allows you the interim auto extension.

A physical H4 EAD card is required to work.

Can I work if the H4 EAD renewal is in the process?

You cannot work if your existing H4 EAD card has expired and renewal is in process.

You should get the approved H4 EAD card in your hand to restart the work unless you are eligible for auto extension using a valid H4 i94.

Is 180 automatic extension notice on the I-765 form valid?

I-765 has a generic message about 180 automatic renewals. It may or may not apply to your EAD category.

Can H4 EAD open an LLC and do business?

H4 EAD can open an LLC and do any business.

Are there any restrictions on the H4 EAD job?

There are no restrictions on the H4 EAD job.

You can do any type of job like Walmart sales executive, insurance agent, drive Uber, or IT consulting.

Can we file EAD from India?

You cannot file EAD from India or Canada.

You have to be physically present in the USA to have valid H4 or L2 status and then file the EAD application.

What you can certainly do is that file H4 EAD while you are in USA and then exit USA. You can return to US when your H4 EAD gets approved.


Written by AM22Tech Team
  AM22Tech Team