Visas for H-1B Dependents

Spouses and unmarried minor children (under 21 years of age) of an H-1B alien are eligible for H-4 status.

Visa requirements

  • Study: H-4 dependents are eligible for full-time and part-time study.
  • Employment: H-4 nonimmigrants are not authorized to be employed incident to status. However, certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants who are seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident (LPR) status are permitted to apply to USCIS for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) that will allow them to work in the United States. H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants are eligible to apply for an EAD under this rule only if their H-1B spouse is the principal beneficiary of an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker.

Required documentation

  • Applying for an Overseas H-1B: Dependents do not need to file additional documentation. Dependents use H-1B supporting documentation (e.g. I-797 Approval Notice, proof of continued employment, etc.) to apply for the H-4 visa and do not receive their own Approval Notices.
  • Extending or changing status: It is the responsibility of the H-1B beneficiary and the H-4 dependent to maintain the H-4 status. The dependent must file Form I-539 to change his/her status in any way, including changing to a different visa category, extending the H-4 end-date, or documenting the beneficiary's change of employer.
  • Travel: When traveling, H-4 dependents should carry with him/her a copy of the H-1B Approval Notice, copy of the H-1B petition most recently submitted to USCIS, as well as any other relevant documents related to H-4 status (Approval Notice, H-4 visa stamp, letter from hiring department confirming employment) and a valid passport.

Please review the our guidelines and tips for filing the I-539. You may submit this form to the IO for review or you may choose to file it yourself.