H-4 Visa for Dependents of H Visa Holders

H-4 Visa is a non-immigrant visa designed for Dependents of H Visa Holders. Spouses and children (under 21 years old) of H visa holders can live, study and work in the US with the H-4 visa status.

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However, to enjoy these privileges, there are certain requirements you must meet. If you’re interested in getting this visa, you will find the answers to all your questions about this Visa type, in this article.

What is H-4 Visa?

The H-4 Visa is a non-immigrant visa issued to the spouses and children of H Visa holders—including H-1B visas for specialty workers, H-2A and H-2B visas for agricultural and nonagricultural temporary workers. However, it is not common for H-2A and H-2B Visa holders to bring their dependents to the US because the duration of their Visa is short. In most cases, foreign nationals issued this visa type are the dependents of H1-B Visa holders. 

Key Things To Know About H-4 Visa

1.  Dependents of H visa holders can only be issued this visa type at the approval of the H Visa for their spouse or parent.

2.  This visa type is only valid if the H Visa Holder is still working in the US.

3.  There is no direct cap on this type of visa. However, since this visa holder is dependent on the H Visa, there is an indirect cap.

4.  Almost 90 percent of H-4 workers are women from India.

5.  This type of visa holder is allowed to study and work in the US with this visa status if they meet certain requirements.

6.  This type of visa holder can open a bank account and get a driver’s license in the US.

Who Is Eligible For H-4 Visa?

Only Dependents of the H Visa holders are eligible for this type of visa. “Dependents”, as USCIS sees it, are immediate family members of the H Visa Holder—which includes only spouses and children below 21 years of age.

What Are The Requirements For H-4 Visa?

If you’re eligible for this visa type, you will need the following documents to apply for this visa status. Some of these documents can only be gotten after your online application.

  • A visa interview appointment letter 
  • A copy of the Form G-1145
  • Barcode printed from DS-160 application form
  • Passport of the visa applicant and the H visa holder
  • 2 passport photographs
  • Receipts of Application fees paid
  • The H visa holder’s form I-797 photocopy and other documents to prove H visa status
  • Marriage certificate for spouse or birth certificate for children
  • Bank statement
  • Birth certificate
  • Government issued identity documents

How To Apply for H-4 Visa?

To apply for an H-4 visa, you should follow the below steps:

  • Complete Application form DS-160, online
  • Print the barcode and keep it for your visa interview
  • You might be required to upload a digital photograph. If you’re not required to upload any, a photograph will be taken at the visa application centre (VAC)
  • You will be required to pay the H-4 visa fee of $190. Ensure you keep your receipt after making payment.
  • Schedule your visa interview
  • Go for your visa interview with the Required documents aforementioned.
  • Check if your Visa has been approved. To check your visa status, go to the website of the US Embassy where you are applying and input your application number.

How Long Does It Take To Process H-4 Visa?

The processing time for an H-4 visa depends on your country. However, it might take you the same time it took your spouse or parent to process their Visa since the H-4 Visa is dependent on the H Visa.

Are H-4 Visa Holders Allowed To Work?

All H-4 Visa holders were initially not allowed to work in the US. After 2015, only Dependents of H1-B Visa holders were permitted to work under the Employment Authorization Program. The H4 visa holders can work if they file Form I-765 or get an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). With the EAD, an H-4 visa holder is allowed to work in any sector in the US. To qualify for EAD, you must meet one of the following requirements.

  • The H-1B visa holder must have a status approved under sections 106(a) and (b) of the American Competitiveness in the 21st Century Act of 2000. According to this act (AC21), H-1B visa holders can stay in the U.S beyond the 6 year limit if they are seeking an Employment Based Green Card.
  • The H-1B visa holder must have or be in a process of getting an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker.

How Long Is H-4 Visa Valid?

The validity of your H-4 Visa depends on the validity of your spouse’s or your parent’s H visa. For example, if your spouse’s or parent’s visa is valid for 3 years, it means your H4 visa is also valid for 3 years. However, you can apply for an extension, if your spouse or parent applies for an extension.

Can I Change My H-4 Visa Status?

H-4 Visa holders can apply for a change of their Visa status. If they find an employer who is willing to sponsor their visa, H-4 Visa Holders can file for the type of visa in which they qualify.

If you have questions about the H-4 Visa, kindly write to us in the comments section below.

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