USA and the UK
What is the H4 visa?
An H4 Visa is issued to dependent family members of those who received H temporary employment visas. In other words, it is available for the immediate family members of the following permit categories:
Individuals living in the United States under H4 immigration status will be able to live in the United States legally, pursue education, and open a bank account. Certain individuals can also apply for an H4 Visa work permit.
What are the benefits of holding an H-4 Visa?
Once in the United States under an H-4 visa, dependent spouses and children can legally do the following:
- Apply for employment authorization
- Obtain a driver license
- Pursue education in the U.S.
- Receive a social security number
- Open bank accounts
In addition, you can apply for a change of status while in the US under the H4 Visa. For example, you can find an employer to sponsor your O1 Visa application, or enroll at a U.S. university under a Student visa.
What is the H4 EAD Program?
In May 2015, certain H4 Visa holders officially became eligible to work in the United States. To be eligible for lawful employment, H4 visa holders must be dependent spouses of an H1B visa holder. In order to work legally in the United States, the spouses must file Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization) with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Furthermore, their H1B spouse must meet the following qualifications:
- The spouse is the principal beneficiary of an approved Form I-140 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker)
- The spouse has been granted H-1B nonimmigrant status under sections 106(a) and (b) of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000 (as amended by the 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act)
The H4 Employment Authorization Document (EAD) allows the recipient to work in any field and any legal job. H4 visa holders do not need an active employment offer in order to acquire an EAD however they must have authorization before seeking a job. Furthermore, those with an H4 EAD are allowed to start their own businesses and employ U.S. workers.
This status can be renewed as long as your family member maintains an H-1B status. If you wish to remain in the U.S. after this, you will need to apply for a different visa.
To get H4 employment authorization, applicants must file Form I-765 and pay a fee of $410. Once again, applicants will be asked to provide evidence of their relationship with the principal H-1B visa holder.
The H4 Visa EAD processing time is usually 90 days but this will depend on the backlogs and workloads of the USCIS service center where the application is sent. Unfortunately, this permit is not eligible for premium processing, so you cannot pay to get a quicker response.
What are the H-4 Visa requirements?
To be eligible for an H4 visa, you must meet the legal definition of “dependent”. This includes:
- Spouses of foreign workers who qualify for an H Visa
- Children of an approved H type visa who are under the age of 21
Children who are financially dependent on an H visa holder but are over the age of 21 cannot apply for this permit. Since there is no cap on the number of H4 Visas issues, you can freely submit your petition as long as you meet the requirements.
What are the required H-4 Visa documents?
As part of your H4 Visa process, you will need to upload several documents. Your evidence must prove your marital or dependency status with the primary H-type visa holder. An adequate supporting portfolio must include at least the following:
- Marriage certificate original copy (if applying as a spouse)
- Birth Certificate (if applying for dependent children)
- Payslips from three months before your application showing that you can sustain yourself financially
- A copy of your passport
- A reference letter from the primary H visa holder’s employer
- A copy of the principal H visa
- A copy of the H visa holder’s passport
- 2 photographs (shot to U.S. visa standards)
- H4 visa application confirmation
- Receipts of paid visa fees
What is the H4 Visa application process?
To apply for an H4 visa, you must file the Form DS-160 online. When you pay the application fee, do not forget to save the receipt as you will need it during your interview. The H4 Visa is the same cost as the other H types permits ($190).
After filing your petition, you can schedule your interview appointment. This will take place at the U.S. embassy in the country from which you are submitting your application.
Can I get an H-4 visa renewal?
The USCIS will issue an H4 Visa that has the same validity as your H visa. Your authorized length of stay will be printed on your permit, and you are not allowed to overstay.
If you need additional time, you can apply for an H4 Visa extension by filling out and submitting Form I-539 before your visa expires. To be eligible for an H4 visa renewal, you must resubmit evidence of your relationship with the primary H visa beneficiary.
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Your H4 status is linked to the main H visa holder’s permit. Most of the visas that fall into this category are dual intent, meaning they allow a change of status.
However, the H4 application process to get a Green Card may take longer since your current date will not have a high priority. In other words, it may take several years for your change of status to be approved.
A better way to get residency status in the U.S. is to first change your H4 Visa to a different immigrant permit. At this point, your Green Card petition may be processed faster, and you will gain extra time in the country while you wait for your visa.
As part of your H4 Visa process, you will need to upload several documents. Your evidence must prove your marital or dependency status with the primary H-type visa holder.
There is further documentation that you may wish to attach to your form to provide additional evidence. This includes:
- Your wedding photo album
- Pictures of the time you and your family have spent together
- Written statements from other people who know you both well
- Letters and correspondence with your family
Your H4 Visa processing time may vary based on the country from which you submitted your form. As a general rule, both the main H Visa and the dependent visa are processed together.
However, this only applies when both forms are filed together. If you submitted your H4 Visa application at a later time, you might incur some delays.
If you wish to join your family members in the U.S. while they are employed under an H-type visa, we can help you with your H4 Visa process. However, this permit may be complicated to obtain, since the USCIS will carry out an extensive check of your case. Therefore, we are ready to offer the guidance of one of our best immigration lawyers.
Our services include:
- Assess if you meet the H4 requirements
- Liaise with your family members living abroad
- Help you get your H-4 EAD
- Offer guidance for H-4 Visa renewal
Call us on +1 844 290 6312 or get in touch with our online contact form. One of our legal experts will be in touch with you at the earliest.
There are no fixed questions for an interview. Based on your circumstances, the officer will investigate different aspects of your application. However, you will inevitably be asked questions about your marriage or relationship with the primary H Visa holder.
This interview is designed to help identify people who may be part of a fake marriage in order to obtain a visa. In other words, you must demonstrate that your commitment to your family is genuine.
After the interview, you can check the status of your H4 Visa on the USCIS website with your application number. You will receive an official communication regarding when your visa will be processed.