The introduction of the H4 visa is a major innovation announced by President Obama. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) aims to improve the economic stability of the country by allowing dependents and spouses of H1 visa holders to work and by extending the length of stay for H1 visa holders. The Donald Trump administration is also encouraging skilled foreign workers to work in the US alongside H1 visa holders.
With an H-4 visa, you can visit your spouse or parents with H-1B status who are working in the United States. If you are outside the U.S. and have no other non-immigrant status, you will need to apply for an H-4 visa at a U.S. consulate or embassy. Once your spouse's or parent's H-1B visa has been approved, you can apply online for a DS-160 non-immigrant visa.
After you have completed the application and paid the fee, you will need to print a receipt and proof of payment. You can then make an H4 visa appointment at the US Consulate in your country. There, you will be invited for an interview with a consular officer who will determine if your case is eligible. You may have questions about your H-4 visa, your spouse or parents, your employment, or your plans for your time in the United States.
If your application is approved and the interview is successful, the consulate will hold your passport and mail it to you along with your H-4 visa stamp. You will then be able to accompany or visit your H-1B parent or spouse in the U.S.
Once your spouse's immigrant visa petition is approved, you and your unmarried children under the age of 21 can apply for an immigrant visa under the same petition. The application process is similar: you must fill out all the necessary forms, pay all the required fees, undergo a medical examination, and attend an interview.
You can check the status of your visa application online at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website.
Once your visa is approved, you can stay in the U.S. as long as your spouse has a valid H-1B visa. You can also apply for a change of status in the US, such as an H-1B visa, or apply for a green card yourself.
The following documents are required to obtain an H4 visa.
A completed DS-160 application form
A valid passport
Two photographs to be used for the US visa
Receipt for the USD 160 non-immigrant visa application fee
A copy of the H visa holder's main visa
A copy of your spouse's Form I-129, Form I-797, and Labor Certification Application (LCA)
A copy of your spouse's/parent's passport with a clear and legible photograph
A letter from your spouse or parent confirming that he/she is working in the United States
A copy of a letter from your spouse or parent indicating previous work experience
If your spouse/parent is already working in the United States, please provide your most recent pay stub and tax return.
If you are the child of an H visa holder, provide the original birth certificate
Marriage certificate. Since many applicants try to get married fictitiously, you will need to prove to the registrar or registrar that your marriage was performed according to your country's marriage traditions. You can do this by submitting this certificate.
Photographs of the wedding, showing you and your spouse clearly visible in the photographs and on the DVD
Wedding guest list
Wedding expense receipts
Receipts for a honeymoon or other post-wedding trips
H4 visas are issued to immediate family members of the H visa holder. Immediate family members include spouses and children. The age of the children should be below 21 years. H-visas include H1B visas, HIB1 visas, H2A visas, H2B visas, and H3 visas.
The length of time it takes to obtain an H-4 visa depends on the workload of the consulate or embassy where you are applying for an interview. You may need to book your interview several weeks in advance. If your application is approved, the embassy will send you your passport and visa a few weeks later. Consult an immigration lawyer to find out how long it will take to get an H-4 visa. Unfortunately, H-1B visa applications can sometimes be fast-tracked, but H-4 visas cannot.
There are a number of requirements to obtain an H-4 work permit or EAD. First, as mentioned above, you must be the spouse of the H-1B visa holder - no other H visa provides this benefit and dependants cannot meet this requirement. To find out how your spouse can get an H-1B visa, read our comprehensive guide to this popular visa.
Second, your spouse must have successfully filed an I-140 petition to become a permanent resident of the US and obtain a green card while working as an H-1B worker. This petition must also be approved by USCIS. However, keep in mind that due to the priority date, it may take several years from the date of approval of the I-140 petition to the date of approval of the green card. Therefore, as soon as the I-140 petition is approved, you will be able to obtain an EAD.