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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.H-4 visa

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:

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.