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H-4 Dependant Visa
What is an H-4 visa?

An H-4 visa is a visa issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to immediate family members (spouse and children under 21 years of age) of the H-1B visa holders.

USCIS allows immediate family members of H visa holders (H-1A, H-1B, H-2A, H-2B, or H-3) to get H-4 visas to lawfully come and stay in the US. These visas are usually issued at the local US consulate office abroad. However, if the person is already in US, he or she can obtain H-4 visa by filing Form I-539 for change of status.

Are H-4 visa holders eligible for a Social Security Number?

H-4 visa holders are not eligible to get a Social Security Number and cannot be employed, but can hold a driver's license, open bank account(s) and get ITIN for IRS Tax purpose. Since H-4 visa holders are not issued a Social security number, an ITIN (Individual tax identification number) should be obtained before filing for joint tax returns. There is a form W-7 that needs to be filled and related documentation which is mentioned in the W-7 form must be notarized and to be sent to the address mentioned in the w-7 form.

The notarization can be done in many of the USPS offices in the USA, (ones that offer passport services,) for this you need to take the original documents that are applicable for you which is mentioned in the W-7. The notarized copy should be sent along with the filled W-7 form to obtain an ITIN number. The application for ITIN (W-7), should be filed along with the tax return to the address different from regular tax return address. IRS will assign ITIN and process the tax refund.

Changing status of an H-4 visa holder

Family members may alternatively be admitted in other non-immigrant categories for which they qualify, such as the F-1 category for children or spouses who will be students or the H-1B category for a spouse whose employer has also obtained approval of an H-1B visa petition to employ the spouse. An H-4 visa holder is admitted to the U.S. for the duration of the primary (H-1B, H-2A, H-2B, or H-3) visa validity.

How do I apply for H-4 visa?

The petitioner would have to mention the names of the dependents along with the principal visa application to the USCIS. Once the principal H applicant receives the Form I-797, Notice of Approval from the USCIS, you apply for H-4 visa by submitting the following documents:

  • A filled-in Form DS-156 , Nonimmigrant Visa Application
  • One (1) 2x2 photograph. See the required photo format explained in Nonimmigrant Photograph Requirements.
  • A passport, valid for travel to the U.S. for at least six months longer than your intended visit.
  • A copy of the marriage certificate in case you are a dependent spouse.
  • A Birth certificate in case of a dependent child below 21 years of age.

Visit the H4 visa FAQ page for all H1-B related questions.

If you need to apply for a H-4 dependant visa or for any other questions, click here >