The H-4 visa allows qualifying H1B spouses to enter the country and live, work, and attend school there.
The H1B programme enables companies to hire foreign nationals on a temporary basis to fill positions in the US that call for highly specialised expertise and a relevant bachelor’s degree or higher.
The H-1B programme covers careers in science, engineering, and information technology as well as those connected to specific Department of Defence initiatives. In addition, there are some jobs in the field of fashion modelling that are covered by the H-1B programme.
Holders of H1B visas may remain in the US for a maximum of three years before being given the opportunity to seek to extend their stay for a maximum of six years if they are still eligible.
In this usage, the term “spouse” refers to the husband or wife in a recognised marriage. Under US visa legislation, common-law relationships are not recognised. You cannot submit an H-4 visa application if you are not married.
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What is an H-4 visa?
The H-4 visa, which allows you to join your spouse in the US for the same period of time that your spouse’s H1B visa is valid, is the spousal visa for an H1B visa holder. Children under the age of 21 who are not married may also apply for an H-4 visa.
What is permitted by the H-4 visa?
If their spouse’s H1B visa is still in effect, spouses of H-1B visa holders are eligible to work or launch a business in the US. H-4 visa holders must first apply for an employment authorization document (EAD) that will allow them to work in the US before they may start a paid job.
You are able to work full- or part-time in any industry and position with the EAD. You can also consider launching your own company.
You must be in possession of a current H-4 visa, and your H1-B spouse’s application for legal permanent residence is a must as well.
The EAD will be given for the entire period that your spouse is granted H1-B status. You will receive a social security number if you are approved to apply and are given this option.
Holders of an H-4 visa are also permitted to work unpaid volunteer employment for non-profit organisations and pursue full- or part-time studies in any subject in the US.
How to apply for an H-4 Visa
If you meet the requirements, you can apply for an H-4 visa at a US consulate abroad or by submitting a change of status form if you are currently in the country.
Applying From Outside The US
If you haven’t already arrived in the US, submit your application at the US Embassy where your spouse applied for their H1-B visa, or if you and your spouse aren’t of the same nationality, submit it in your home nation.
Although there are certain parallels, the specific visa application process depends on the nation from which you are applying:
Step 1: Submit the DS-160 form online.
Step 2: You must schedule an interview at the nearby US embassy after submitting your online application. The following documentation, which includes but is not restricted to:
Your spouse’s passport
Evidence of your relationships with your spouse, such as photographs and your wedding album.
Proof of confirmation and payment of the DS-160 form
Proof of your spouse’s employment
Original marriage certificate
Applying Domestically in the US
You can still apply for an H-4 visa if you are already in the country by submitting a change of status form. It is advised to submit your application at least 45 days before the end of your current authorised stay, although it is not required.
If your unmarried children are under 21 and have the same visa status as you do, or are in the same derivative status, you may include them as co-applicants.
Applying for H-4 Employment Authorization
You must finish and submit Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, in order to apply. A valid H-4 visa must be used to submit the application from within the US.
You will have to provide supporting documentation, such as evidence of your current H-4 visa status and your spouse’s H-1B visa status. You must also pay the applicable filing fee.
The processing of applications may take up to 90 days. The premium processing option is not available.
Even though you can’t start working until you get the EAD, you can start looking for a job as soon as your application is accepted.
The application process for a US visa might be difficult. You’ll want to make sure your application satisfies the necessary requirements and standards given the constant changes in entrance and travel limitations as well as the significant stakes involved.
Getting legal counsel will assist you to make sure you are adhering to the requirements for eligibility and submitting all the necessary information to allow your application to be handled quickly.
We have a few firms of committed US immigration lawyers. We can help you with the application procedure if you’re thinking about requesting an H-4 visa or work permit. Contact us if you need assistance with your US visa application.
This text is solely for informational purposes and does not constitute specific legal advice.