For spouses and children under twenty-one years old of H-1B visa holders, a unique category of visa known as the H-4 is available. Through the course of the H-1B worker's status, they can live in the US with the main applicant, the H-1B visa holder. The same I-129 acceptance notification is valid for them as it is for the lead applicant, thus their dependents should apply for their visas immediately at the US embassy.

The derivative status granted by an H-4 visa prevents its holders from working in the US. A derivative may, nonetheless, study in the US with an H-4 visa.

In order to extend or amend their nonimmigrant status, spouses and children must submit Form I-539, Application to Extend/amend Nonimmigrant Status.          

How to Apply for H4 Visa

To apply for an H-4 visa, the applicant can submit a DS-160 form directly at the U.S. embassy or consulate. In some cases, applicants may be eligible for drop box submission if they have been issued a visa within the past 2-3 years and have no negative immigration history.

When applying for an H-4 visa, the applicant must carry the original I-797 form of the H-1B spouse, along with recent pay stubs. Additionally, they may need to provide other relationship documents such as a passport with a validity of at least six months, a marriage certificate (for spouses), a divorce decree (if applicable), joint bank statements, joint tax returns, joint property deeds, wedding cards, wedding albums, and birth certificates of children. If the applicant has a criminal case, they must also carry all police records and court disposition records.

Alternatively, it is possible to file for an H-4 visa in the U.S. as a change of status from another non-immigrant visa category. In this case, the applicant must demonstrate that they have maintained valid non-immigrant status and intend to change their status before their current I-94 expires. It is important to avoid filing a change of status application within 90 days of arrival in another visa status.

For H-4 applicants filing for a change of status within the U.S., they must provide a valid H-1B I-797 form of the spouse or parent, along with 2-3 recent pay stubs. The applicant should submit Form I-539 and any applicable supplements, along with the filing fee of $310.

Steps for H4 EAD Application 

To be eligible for an H-4 Employment Authorization Document (EAD), both the applicant and the H-1B spouse must maintain valid immigration statuses. This means that both the H-4 I-94 and the H-1B I-94 must be valid at the time of application. The H-1B spouse is required to provide 2-3 recent pay stubs as proof of maintaining valid H-1B status.

To apply for an H-4 EAD, the applicant needs to complete Form I-765 and attach two passport-sized photos. Additionally, the H-1B spouse's approved I-140 form should be included in the application package. The filing fee for the H-4 EAD application is $410.

Steps to Change H4 Visa to H1B Visa

If you are currently on an H-4 visa and meet the necessary requirements, it is possible to change your status to an H-1B visa within the United States. To do so, your H-4 I-94 must still be valid, and your spouse must have maintained a valid H-1B status with a valid I-94. Your spouse will also need to provide 2-3 recent pay stubs as evidence of their H-1B status.

The H-1B visa allows foreign nationals to live and work in the United States in professional positions. The job or work must be in a specialized field, and the foreign national must possess the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor's degree in the relevant field. The H-1B visa is typically granted for a temporary period, initially for three years, with the possibility of extensions for a maximum total of six years.

During the H-1B period, the U.S. employer may choose to apply for a Green Card for the H-1B employee through the PERM (Program Electronic Review Management) process. This process involves obtaining labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor and subsequently applying for permanent residency.

Steps to Obtain H-1B Visa

  1. The first step is to locate a US Employer or company that requires your services based on your expertise and skills.
  2. Once you are officially hired, the sponsoring employer will gather important documents from you, including your resume, copies of your passport, degree, diploma, transcripts, and job experience letters. If you are currently on H-4 status, you will additionally be required to provide your spouse's H-1B approval notice and 2-3 recent pay stubs as supporting documentation. These documents are necessary for the employer to prepare and submit the H-1B visa petition on your behalf.
  3. Your employer will hire an immigration attorney and then send over all the documents you have provided them with in regard to your credentials, experience, job experience letters, etc. This initiates the process of preparing the H-1B visa. 
  4. A missing documents list will then be provided to your employer from the immigration attorney.
  5. Your employer's immigration lawyer will have the H-1B employer post the LCA notice of posting at the job site and file a Labor Condition Application, once all parties come to a mutual agreement.
  6. Now, our law firm will begin preparing the necessary forms, including Form I-129, along with other required documentation. We will also draft petition letters and, if required, obtain credential evaluations to support your H-1B visa application. Our experienced team will meticulously handle these tasks to ensure a thorough and accurate preparation of your H-1B petition.
  7. After seven days, a certified Labor Condition Application will be ready. The H-1B employer has to sign this form before they begin filing the H-1B visa petition to the USCIS. 
  8. For H-1B cap subject cases, which are subject to the H-1B visa lottery, registration with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is required between March 1st and March 20th. To participate in the lottery, a $10 H-1B visa registration fee must be paid. If your application is selected in the lottery, you will be required to file the complete H-1B petition within 90 days of the selection notice. It is important to adhere to these deadlines to ensure your participation in the H-1B visa lottery and subsequent filing of the H-1B petition if selected.
  9. Each year, approximately 65,000 H-1B visas are made available for foreign workers seeking employment in the United States. In addition to this quota, an additional 20,000 H-1B visas are allocated specifically for individuals who hold U.S. Master's degrees or higher from public or non-profit colleges or universities. This provision allows for a total of 85,000 H-1B visas to be issued annually, providing opportunities for highly skilled professionals to work in the U.S. and contribute to its workforce.
  10. It is important to note that H-1B transfer, H-1B extension, H-1B amendment are able to be filed at any time as they do not undergo the H-1B visa lottery.
  11. Employers with less than 25 employees are required to pay $1,710 to the U.S. immigration authorities. On the other hand, employers with more than 25 employees must pay a fee of $2,460. In addition, employers with more than 50 employees, where 50% or more of the workforce holds H-1B or L-1 visas, are subject to an additional fee of $4,000. This fee is meant to address concerns related to the displacement of U.S. workers in such cases.
  12. Upon filing an acceptable H-1B visa petition at the appropriate USCIS Service Center, you can expect to receive the H-1B Receipt Notice within a period of 2 to 3 weeks. This notice serves as confirmation that your H-1B petition has been received and is being processed by the USCIS. 
  13. H-1B Premium processing cases can be processed within two weeks if an additional payment of $2,500 is made, otherwise, it can take about four to six months. Following the opening of the file, USCIS will either approve the H-1B visa or ask for more evidence about the H-1B employee and their field. 
  14. Once the H-1B visa is approved, the H-1B employee is able to begin working if they are already in the US or apply for a work visa at the Embassy or Consulate. Upon approval of the petition, your employer or attorney will receive a Notice of Action, specifically Form I-797, from the U.S. The Form I-797 confirms that your H-1B visa has been granted, allowing you to proceed with your plans to live and work in the United States.
  15. To apply for an H-1B visa at the U.S. embassy or consulate, you will be required to complete and submit the DS-160 form, along with any other relevant forms as specified by the embassy or consulate. A set fee must also be paid at the time of application. At the interview for the H-1B visa, the consular office will complete verification of the petition approval and verify that all presented information is accurate. After issuing the H-1B visa, you can finally arrive to the US and begin working.
  16. Also, you are able to change from H-4 to H-1B from the United States.

How can we help you get your H-1B Visa?

Keshab, an experienced professional, has a proven track record of handling over 75,000+ H-1B visas. With his expertise, he specializes in managing complex H-1B visa cases, effectively addressing challenging Request for Additional Evidence (RFEs). Throughout his career, Keshab has represented numerous clients and assisted thousands of individuals. To avail of his services, you can contact him at 2125716002 or send an email to [email protected].

Can I bring my family members?

Your spouse and kids under twenty-one are eligible for the dependent H-4 Visa.

Does an H4 visa holder work too?

H-4 derivative spouses are eligible to apply for an H-4 Employment Authorization Document (EAD) if their spouse's I-140 petition has been approved. The H-4 EAD allows the spouse to obtain work authorization and engage in employment in the United States.

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