H-4 VISA FOR SPOUSE AND CHILDREN
What is H-4 visa and what privileges does it give
The H-4 dependent visa is a non-immigrant visa which allows the dependent spouse and children of principal H-1B or H-1B1 visa holders to enter the U.S.
To obtain H-4 visa the spouse or children need to apply at the U.S. Consulate at their home country with the approved H-1B petition or apply for both the H-1B visa and the H-4 visa simultaneously.
H-4 visa holders may stay in the U.S. for the duration of principal H-1B holder’s authorized stay. They may study full or part time. They do not need to apply for F-1 visa to study in the U.S.
H-4 holder may Extend their status based on principal status.
They may change their status to B-1/B-2, H-1B, F-1 or any other non-immigrant status without departing from the U.S. The maximum period of stay in the U.S. is 6 years. The time in H-4 status is not counted towards H-1B time.
H-4 EMPLOYMENT AUTHORIZATION
Generally, H-4 holders are not allowed ti work in the U.S.
H-4 dependent spouses of principal H-1B nonimmigrants are eligible for work authorization who:
- Are the principal beneficiaries of an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker; or
- Have been granted H-1B status in the United States beyond the six-year limit under the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000.
Employment authorization expiration date generally will match your H-4 nonimmigrant status expiration date. H-4 dependent spouse must be in the United States to apply for employment authorization.
A person who is granted employment authorization based on his or her H-4 status, obtains employment authorization is unrestricted. This means that an individual’s employment authorization is not limited to a specific employer. It also does not prohibit self-employment or starting a business and hiring other individuals as employees of his or her business.
Applicants should use new Form I-765 for all their EAD applications. For H-4 applicants new eligibility category was designated – (c)(26). Enter this designation in line 16 and put your H-1B spouse’s receipt number for Form I-129 on line 18.
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