H-4 Visa Application Details
We will give you an overview of the H-4 visa. This is a visa for family members of people working in the US on an H-1B visa. There have been recent updates in the rules that give additional benefits to H-4 visa holders. The important thing to note is that H-4 is only for family members of someone working on an H-1B and not on F-1 or other types of education/work visas.
Who qualifies as a family member eligible for H-4 visa?
Children of H-1B visa holder who are family members and less than 21 years and unmarried are eligible to receive H-4 visa. Spouse gets the most benefit of a H-4 visa. Specific exclusions for H-4 visa are your parents and siblings. It doesn’t matter if your siblings are below 21 years old and unmarried. Only your spouse and children are eligible to receive the visa.
What is the application process to file an H-4 visa?
The process for visa application is pretty straightforward.
- Fill a DS 160 form
- Apply for the visa
- Get an interview date
- Complete the interview
That’s it. If the visa is approved, you’ll get it pretty quickly. Generally, most of the time is spent in preparing documents for the visa interview. The rest of the process is pretty straightforward.
How long does it take to receive the H-4 visa?
An H-4 visa can take anywhere from a few days to a few months. It really depends on the consulate you are applying and depending on the season how busy they are. The process is not complicated at all. If everything goes well and the visa is approved, you’ll receive it in a few days.
What are the documents required to file an H-4 visa?
Here is the list of documents you need to file for H-4 visa:
- Your passport (should be valid)
- Your spouse’s passport (should be valid)
- A receipt that shows you’ve filed the visa fees
- A copy of DS-160 form with CEAC barcode
- A copy of the approved I-797 form
- Your photographs (at least one)
- Your spouse’s photographs (at least one)
- 2 copies of Interview appointment letter
Additional Supporting Documents:
- Proof of marriage — like a marriage certificate
- Addition marriage photographs; invitation cards for the wedding
- Birth certificates of children if they are also applying
- Pay stubs or other proof of spouse/parent being an H-1B visa holder and working in the U.S.
- Tax documents of H-1B visa holder
Some additional documents may be required in special cases but these documents should cover most of the required documents for the visa.
What are H-4 visa holders allowed to do in the U.S.?
Spouses of H-4 visa holders can go to school/university for higher education; children can go to school. If the H-1B visa holder has applied for a green card and their I-140 has been processed, H-4 visa holders can also work in the U.S. without restriction. They are not tied to an employer but they are dependent on their spouse to help them maintain status. If H-1B visa holder loses their status, so does H-4 visa holder.
Can H-4 visa holders go to school/university in the U.S.?
Yes, totally. They can enroll in online and campus courses and pursue higher education.
Can H-4 visa holders work full-time in the U.S.?
Only if the H-1B visa holder has filed for a green card and their I-140 has been approved. This will allow H-4 visa holder to get employment authorization document (EAD). This document allows H-4 visa holder to legally work in the U.S.
Can H-4 visa holders get a Social Security Number?
Yes, absolutely. If your spouse has filed for a green card and has received I-140, you can get I-9 work authorization and apply for a Social Security Number. The application process is the same for everyone filing for an SSN.
Can H-4 visa holders open a bank account?
Yes, absolutely. Even if you don’t have an SSN, you can use legal and valid visa documents along with your spouse’s information to open a bank account in credit unions and several banks. Some conservative banks may not want to open an account without an SSN, but most would. The policies of the banks are applicable nationwide, so if one national bank opens accounts for H-4 visa holders, they’d do it for all their branches in the U.S.
Hope this helps.
In the next article, we will talk about employment authorization for H-4 visa holders. This is an important topic that a lot of H-4 visa holders want to know about.
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