H-4 Dependent Visa

Spouses and dependent children of workers with type H visas are often eligible to receive an H-4 dependent visa to enter and live in the United States. Some H-4 visa holders can also apply for work authorization as well.

U.S. immigration authorities recommend that family members seeking a dependent H-4 visa apply at the same time that the worker is applying for the H visa, if possible. That means it is important to know early on how to demonstrate your eligibility. To avoid mistakes that could cause delay or denial of an H-4 visa application, many people choose to work with an experienced immigration attorney.

At Luis F. Hess, PLLC, we understand how important it is to keep your family together. We work hard to help clients obtain the visas that fit their individual needs with the fewest possible delays.

Who is Eligible for an H-4 Visa and Work Authorization?

To receive an H-4 dependent visa, you must be either the spouse or the child of someone who already has or is applying for one of the type H temporary visas to work in the U.S. Children must be unmarried and under the age of 21 to apply.

Applicable H visa categories include H1-B visas for workers in specialty occupations that require a specific degree, H-2A and H-2B visas for temporary agricultural and nonagricultural workers, and H-3 visas for individuals coming to the U.S. for training or certain education.

Factors to Know About the H-4 Visa

An H-4 visa is tied closely to the visa of the primary worker. Both visas will be granted for the same length of time. If the primary worker’s visa is extended, the dependent visa will generally be extended to match. However, if the work is canceled and the primary worker loses their status, then the dependent H-4 visa holder will as well.

Interviewing for an H-4 Visa

Most applicants will need to go through an interview with U.S. immigration officials before receiving an H-4 visa. Generally, you will be asked questions designed to verify the validity of your marriage relationship to demonstrate that your application is not fraudulent. Any hint of fraud could not only cause your application to be denied but could also impact your ability to obtain a visa in the future, so it is important to be truthful. An experienced immigration attorney could review the types of questions to expect and the answers that best demonstrate your eligibility without containing any statements that could be misinterpreted.

When Can You Receive Work Authorization with an H-4 Visa?

Only spouses of certain H visa holders are able to apply for employment authorization. Specifically, dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrant visa holders can seek authorization to work in the U.S. if their spouse is either the principal beneficiary of Form I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker or received H-1B status based on certain provisions of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act (as amended). They must receive a Form I-766 Authorization Document before starting to work.

Consult an Immigration Attorney for Assistance with an H-4 Visa

An H-4 visa offers a wonderful opportunity for families to live together in the U.S. while a visa holder is here working. For some, these temporary visas can help bridge the path to permanent immigration. However, you need to take care with all information submitted to immigration authorities. To best protect all your opportunities now and in the future, talk to an experienced immigration attorney at Luis F. Hess, PLLC to find out how we can help.