H-4 Visa

The H4 visa is a nonimmigrant visa issued by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to the spouse and minor children of the below principle H visa holders.

  • H-1B: for specialty workers
  • H-2A: for temporary agricultural workers
  • H-2B: for temporary nonagricultural workers
  • H-3: for those that are coming to the U.S. for training purposes

An H4 visa holder may remain in the US as long as the H visa holder remains in legal status. An H4 visa holder may change his or her status in the US.

H4 Visa requirements

To be eligible for an H4 Visa, person must meet the legal definition of “dependent”. This includes:

  • Spouses of the beneficiary are entitled to H nonimmigrant visa classification. This includes the H1B, H1B1, H2A, H2B or H3 visas.
  • Children under the age of 21 of an approved H type visa older.

Children who are financially dependent from an H visa holder but are over the age of 21 cannot apply for H4 visa.

H4 visa holders can stay in the country for the whole period of validity of the H1B, H1C, H2A, H2B or H3 visa held by the husband/wife. During the stay, H4 visa holder have the right to open a bank account, go to school, and even get a driver’s license. H4 visa holders may engage in full or part time study.

H4 visa holder can work but depends on whether he/she can obtain an H4 EAD, respectively an Employment Authorization Document.

Required H4 Visa documents

As part of H4 Visa process, person must prove and show the evidence related to the marital or dependency status with the primary H type visa holder. The following documents are required.

  • Marriage certificate (original copy);
  • Birth Certificate;
  • Payslips from three months before your application, to show you can sustain yourself financially;
  • A copy of your passport;
  • A letter from the primary visa holder’s employer;
  • A copy of the principal H visa.

H4 Visa renewal

The USCIS will release an H4 Visa that has the same validity of the primary H visa. The authorized length of stay will be printed on H4 permit, and not allowed to overstay.

However, H4 visa holder can apply for an H4 Visa extension. Need to apply using Form I-539 before the visa expires.

To be eligible for an H4 visa renewal, need to resubmit the evidence of relationship with the primary H visa holder

Working on an H4 Visa

In general, an H4 visa holder may not accept employment. He or she must obtain a work visa. On May 26, 2015 USCIS allowed H4 visa holders who are spouses of H1B visa holders that have an approved I-140 and granted H1B visa status under AC21 regulations to apply for an EAD.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would start issuing Employment Authorization Documents (EAD) to eligible H4 visa holders. Holders of such an H4 visa EAD can now legally work or start a business in the U.S. as long as their spouse’s H1B visa is valid.

However there is a plan to revoke H4 EAD.

The information is provided for general informational and educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice. Before making any decision, consult with the appropriate professionals. Please refer our Disclaimer for details.

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