H4 Visa Dependent Family Members FAQ

All H-1B FAQs

Q: I am applying for an H1B visa, and I would like my spouse to travel with me; can he/she apply for a dependent visa (H4) at the same time that I do, or must they wait until my visa has been issued?
 It is recommended that the spouse and dependent children go for their visa interview at the same time as the principal applicant.

Q: Should my spouse’s name be in my passport? Do we need to have the same last name?
 Your spouse’s name should be entered in your passport if you are applying for an H4 visa. You do not, however, need to have the same last name.

Q: Can a person on a dependent visa work in the U.S.?
 No, they are generally prohibited from working in the U.S. while in status on a dependent visa. However, effective May 26, 2015, certain H4 visa holders will be able to apply for work permit (get EAD) and be able to work. 
H4 Visa EAD

Q: My mother is alone in India and is really dependent upon me. If I am on H1, can I get her on H4 as a dependent?
 No, you can’t. You can get an H4 visa only for your spouse and children under age 21.

Q: My son is on an H4. Do I need to get an F1 (student) visa so that he can attend school full-time?
 Children on an H4 visa do not require a separate visa to attend school.

Q: I am on an H4. Can I or should I change my status to an F1 visa if I want to study?
 You can, but there is no need to. You can study on an H4 visa itself. You are not going to save any money in tuition whether you are on H4 or F1. However, you would need to change to the F1 if you want to work part time as allowed by the F1 visa.

Q: Can I get a social security number?
No, you generally can’t. However, if you get H4 visa based EAD, you can get a social security number after that.

Q: Can I go to college full time?
 Yes, you can. However, if you are going to take any part time employment, you need to change to F1.

Q: Can I search for a job even if I don’t have a social security number?
 Yes, you can. However, your future employer will have to file an H1 visa for you. Once you get an H1, you will be able to get a social security number.

Q: I was on an F1 (student) visa earlier, and my wife was on an F2 dependent visa. Now I am on an H1B after getting a new job. Does my wife need to change her status to H4?
 Yes, she has to. If she is in the U.S. right now, apply for a change of status by filing Form I-539. In case she is outside the U.S., she needs to get her H4 visa stamped before entering the U.S.

Q: I am currently on an H4. If I get a job, and if my employer files my H1, I will be in H1 status. Can I still include myself in my spouse’s green card process as a dependent?

Q: Do the H-4 visa holders maintain their status as long as the principal alien maintains his/her status, or are they also required to re-file to maintain their status in change of employer situations? 

Facts: The principal alien is the beneficiary of an H-1B visa petition by ‘Company A’. The visa is valid for a period of three years. The accompanying family member receives an H-4 visa for the same period reflecting the principal alien’s employment with ‘Company A’. One year later, the principal alien changes employers. A new H-1B visa is petitioned for by ‘Company B’, and all procedures are followed so that the principal alien is never out of status. The validity dates on the H-4 accompanying family member’s visa has two years remaining, but still shows ‘Company A’ as the H-1B petitioner and not ‘Company B’.

A: An H-4 nonimmigrant alien’s authorized stay in the United States is contingent on the continued validity of the H-1B principal alien’s status. The H-4 nonimmigrant alien continues to remain in valid nonimmigrant status as long as the principal alien remains in a valid nonimmigrant status. 

Since the H-4 nonimmigrant classification is not specific to an employer, the H-4 nonimmigrant alien remains in valid status even if the principal alien changes H-1B employers. No action is required on the part of the H-4 nonimmigrant alien when the principal H-1B alien changes employers within the same classification.

Q: My visa appointment is next week. However, I got married recently. How can I add my wife in the visa appointment now? If I try to look for a new appointment, earliest appointment is 3 months from now.
 Unfortunately, there is no way to add your wife to your appointment now. You will have to schedule a new appointment for her whenever it is available. Therefore, it is advisable to plan ahead, if possible.

Q: An appointment for myself and my wife is scheduled next week, and we just had a newborn baby. How can I get an appointment for her?
 U.S. consulate makes an exception for newborn babies. Just print the e-visa forms for newborn babies who are accompanying their parents for the interview even though they don’t have an appointment obtained through CGI.

However, please note that minor children will still need a confirmed appointment through CGI.

Q: My baby was born in the U.S. However, I have taken an Indian passport for her. Can I make an appointment for her U.S. visa?
 Anyone born in the U.S. is a U.S. citizen (except children born to diplomats). U.S. citizens can’t be issued a U.S. visa. You must obtain a U.S. passport for your baby.

Q: Do my minor children have to attend the interview?
 Yes, everyone must attend the interview in person.

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