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All about United States: H4 Visa (Dependent Visa)

The H4 visa is a US dependent visa that’s issued to dependent family member’s, spouse and kids of H-visa holders, who wish to accompany the H-visa holder to the US throughout the period of their keep. USCIS permits immediate relations of H visa holders (H-1A, H-1B, H-1B1, H-2A, H-2B, or H-3) to induce H-4 visas to lawfully return and keep within the US.

To be qualified to apply for the H4 visa, you wish to satisfy anyone of the conditions mentioned below:

  • Be the spouse that holds one among these US Work Visas: H-1B visa, H-1B1 visa, H-2A visa, H-2B visa, H-3 visa
  • Be the child under 21 years old of an approved H type visa holder. Adolescent of H visa holders who are over and above 21 years recent cannot apply for the H4 visa.

For applying H-4 Visa, principal applicant is always the H1B visa holder. Immediate family members like spouse and children underneath 21 yrs will qualify for this visa and might apply at the US Consulate in their home country.

This document outlines the details of H4 dependent visa (for spouse of H1B VISA holder). Details of H-4 visa for other categories shall be explained in subsequent articles.

H4 Visa essentials

While applying for your visa in additionally to your spouse, who is applying for H1 at the same time, then you will submit each of your applications together

As an H-4 VISA holder, you stand eligible for

  • H-4 dependent spouses are eligible to receive social security numbers
  • Get a Drivers license
  • Pursue education
  • Open bank account(s)
  • are eligible for an ITIN (Tax ID for IRS Tax purposes)
  • To get Employment: Effective from 2015, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would extend eligibility for employment authorization to certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B non-immigrants who are seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident (LPR) status. Not all H4 visa holders are eligible for H4 EAD (Employment Authorization Document). The H4 visa holder's spouse (H1B visa holder) must fit into criteria as prescribed by authorities.

Eligibility for H4 Visa EAD: Applicants are eligible to apply for H4 visa EAD if the H1B visa holder:

  • Is the principal beneficiary of an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker; or
  • Has been granted H1B 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 (AC21). AC21 permits H1B non-immigrants seeking lawful permanent residence to work and remain in the United States beyond the six-year limit on their H1B status.
    • Process for applying H-4 Visa:

      1. Fill Form- Apply online
      2. Pay the VISA Fee
      3. Interview Appointment
      4. Fingerprints/ Biometrics
      5. VISA Interview
  • Apply online: You need to fill Form DS-160 online. After you proceed with your H4 visa application, you may get the DS-160 barcode. You need to keep the barcode confirmation page, print it, and produce it with you after you have your interview.
  • Pay the applicable H4 visa fees: H4 visa fees are equivalent as other H type visas. Currently, the application fee for this visa is $190. Pay the fee and save the receipt, as you will need it later throughout your application procedures
  • Schedule a visa interview appointment: As soon as you file the DS-160 form, schedule an interview appointment with the U.S Embassy from which you are applying for the H4 visa. The earlier you schedule your interview, the quicker you complete the entire H4 visa application. After you schedule your interview, you may get a letter of confirmation, which you need to save for later
  • Attend the visa interview: The moment you apply on-line and submit your documents, you have to attend the visa interview. The interviewers may raise query like:-
    • What will you do in the U.S?
    • Are you planning to get engage in any illegal activities or not?
  • Brace oneself for the interview by clearly describing your reasons for going and be ready to answer questions related to your spouse or parent. The interviewers throughout the interview will try to gaze whether your relationship with the H type visa holder is real or not. Very next concern during the interview will be your intent for going to the US. Your interview and application will determine whether you will be granted the H4 visa or not.
  • Obtain your visa: You will be able to check your visa status on the website of the U.S Embassy, by putting your application number. The Embassy will apprise you once they move forward with your H4 visa. Once your H4 visa is acknowledged, you have to go for the visa stamping procedures. The visa stamping is going to be your final step for you to finalize before you can book your trip to the U.S.
  • Documents requirement:

    Along with the standard required documents for any US non-immigrant visa, you need to additionally provide the subsequent documents once applying for the H4 visa:

    • Photocopy of your spouse’s/parent’s I-129 form, I-797 form, and the Labor Certification Application (LCA)
    • Photocopy of your spouse’s/parent’s H type visa
    • A copy of your spouse’s/parent’s passport with a clear, identifiable photo
    • A copy of your spouse’s/parent’s letter of employment in the U.S
    • Copies of your spouse’s/parent’s letters of previous work experience
    • Recently pay stubs and tax filing information, if your spouse/parent is already working in the U.S.
    • In case you are the child of the H type visa holder, submit the original birth certificate
    • In case you are the spouse of the H type visa holder, submit the marriage certificate and genuine proof of marriage. Though many applicants try to fake being married to each other, you have to prove that you have married according to your country’s wedding tradition or at the wedding registrar. You can do that through submitting this proof:
      • Wedding photographs where you and your spouse are clearly seen in the pictures and DVDs
      • Wedding invitations
      • List of wedding guests
      • Receipts for payments of wedding expenses
      • Booking receipts of your honeymoon or other post-marriage trips
    • If married only at the wedding registrar, you need to have these:
      • Copy of your signed wedding registrar affidavit
      • Pictures of you and your spouse signing the marriage certificate
      • Pictures of your witnesses and whoever was conducting the ceremony

      Note:

    • If you are away from the U.S, you will need to submit your application for H4 Visa at the U.S Embassy where your spouse or parent has applied or in your native country.
    • If you and your spouse are of different nationalities and if you are within the U.S, you can submit your H4 visa application through the USCIS.

    Keep in mind that having an H4 visa or any U.S visa types does not guarantee entry to the U.S. That falls under authorities’ discretion

    To escape the Inaccuracy in filling the visa application and considerate the legalities associated to the H4 visa. Here are some useful suggestions for the H4 visa applicants.

    Name, Forename & Surname

  • While providing the knowledge for a visa interview and filing on-line application form, H4 visa candidate should clearly state their Name, Forename. If your surname is totally different from your name after your wedding, kindly amend your passport with the new name. Usually there’s a loads of confusion caused by name changes after wedding. This should be sorted out before applying for official visas.
  • Check if the passport issue authorities have written your name properly.Common errors are: writing the name in the Last name field, writing Last name rather than Given Name and the other way around. Candidates ought to check their passport and if the whole name is given in one line, they must get the related modification done from passport office prior to applying for a visa.
  • To sum up ensure that your name is properly filled out.
  • It is suggested to induce your spouse's name supported on your passport beforehand.
  • Wedding Portfolio

      You have to indicate the enough proof that you are married to the principal applicant.

      • Kindly confirm that you simply carry a reasonably descriptive wedding album, meaning, your album should have several wedding photos.
      • You and your groom should be clearly visible and simply diagnosable within the photos.
      • It is suggested to incorporate images showing wedding rituals, ceremonies, etc. relating your marriage, engagement ceremony, pictures of your families, etc.

    Other FAQs:

    1. How long am I able to keep within the U.S with an H4 Visa?
      • As soon as you apply for the H4 visa, you'll need to submit your spouse’s or parent’s I-797 form. This form states that the dates mentioned of your spouse or parents are valid. Supported this, the U.S Embassy will also grant you a visa with the identical validity of your spouse’s or parent’s visa. So if your spouse assimilates a visa with a validity of 3 years, your H4 visa will also be valid for 3 years. This is the time when you will stay within the U.S.
    2. Am I allegeable to prolong my H4 Visa?
      • If your spouse or parent applies for an extension, then you’re additionally eligible to apply for an extension of the H4 visa. You’ll try this by filing Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Non-immigrant Status. In addition to this form, you have to submit these supporting documents:
      • A copy of your most recent Form I-94
      • Your spouse’s or parents most recent Form I-94
      • Copies of your spouse’s or parent’s I-129 form and I-797 form and notice of approval
      • Proof of your relationship with the H type visa holder, such as the marriage certificate for spouses and birth certificate for parents
    3. What I should do at first after receiving VISA?
      • Though there is almost negligible chances of error, but we always advise to check your VISA for any typographical mistakes; like:
      • Your name
      • Your spouse's name
      • Date of birth
      • Type of visa
      • Validity date