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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.

What advantanges do I have as an H4 visa holder?

On H-4 visa, you:

  • Don't need to maintain a foreign residence
  • Can enter into the U.S. along with your spouse or join him/her later
  • Can travel in and out of the U.S. or remain in the U.S. continuously as long as you are in the status
  • Can study in any U.S. university
Can I work on H-4 visa?

No, you may not work on H-4 visa in the U.S. The principal H visa holder has to support you. You, however, have the option to convert your visa from H-4 to a employment based non-immigrant Work visa.

Can I extend my stay on H-4 visa?

Yes, you may apply for extension of stay on H-4 visa. However, the extention period and approval would depend on the status of the primary H visa.

Are there any travel restrictions on H-4 visa?

No, there are'nt any travel restrictions on H-4 visa. You may travel as many times as possible while you are on H-4 status.

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.

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