H4 visa is issued to dependent family members (spouse and children) of H1B visa holders who would like to accompany the H1B visa holder to the U.S. during their stay. In such a case, the principal applicant is always the H1B visa holder. Immediate family members like spouse and children under 21 years old may qualify for a H4 visa and may apply at a US Consulate in their home country. If you are applying for your visa along with your spouse, who is applying for H1B simultaneously, then you can submit both applications together. An H4 visa allows visa holders to:
When you apply for the H4 visa, you will have to submit your spouse’s or parent’s I- 797 form. This form states the dates that the visa of your spouse or parent is valid. Based on this, the U.S Embassy will also grant you a visa with the same validity of your spouse’s or parent’s visa. So if your spouse has a visa that is valid for 3 years, your H4 visa will also be valid for 3 years. That is the length of time that you can to stay in the U.S.
If your spouse or parent applies for an extension, then you are also eligible to apply for an extension of the H4 visa. You can do this by filing Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Non-immigrant Status.
In addition to this form, you will have to also submit these supporting documents:
H4 visa holders canapply for a change of status.If, for example, you find an employer who is willing to sponsor your visa, you can file for the type of visa in which you qualify. For example, if you get a temporary, non-agricultural job, you can apply for a change of status to an H-2B visa.
Also, many H4 visa holders want to know whether they can apply for a Green Card.The answer, in this case, is yes.Most H type visas are dual intent, which means that you can have a non-immigrant and immigrant status. However, if you apply for a Green Card from an H4 visa, it might take too long for your priority dates to become current. You might have to wait for years until your Green Card is approved. A better way to go about getting a Green Card is to change status to an H-1B visa and then apply for the Green Card. Your Green Card might be processed faster and you won’t have to wait too long.
You can enrol in academic courses or programs. You will have the same opportunities as a student on an F-1 visa. However, if you get accepted to an academic program in the U.S as an F-1 student, then you could get the F-1 visa, instead of the H4.
You can open your own H4 visa bank account like any other immigrant or citizen of the U.S with any banking institution. The procedure is easy and you can open it by providing your passport and local ID card.
H4 visa holders can apply for a driver’s license in the U.S. If they pass the necessary driver’s tests, they get the right to drive.
Getting health insurance for H4 visa holders will help in managing the costs of health care if someone gets ill or in an accident. However, although not mandatory, most US residents have health insurance anyway, simply because the cost of health care in the US is very high, and people with an average income cannot afford it if they have to pay out of pocket.
If you are not working as an H4 visa holder, you will not be allowed to get a Social Security Number (SSN). Instead, you will get an ITIN tax number. This means that you will still have to file taxes just as anyone with an SSN. If you are employed, though, you will have to get a Social Security Number.
Before 2015, H4 visa work was prohibited. However, after 2015, H4 visa holders are allowed to work based on conditions specified by the H4 EAD program.
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