Many people travel to the US after receiving a job offer. These people must obtain an H-type visa before entering. This visa is a kind of temporary work permit for professionals and non-professionals and is divided into several general categories. The H4 visa is assigned for the spouse and children of H visas holders. In this article, we will learn what steps must be taken by the dependents of H visas holders to obtain this visa.
What are the requirements of this visa?
This visa is issued to family members (including the spouse and unmarried children under 21 years) of H visas holders.
How to apply for this visa?
First, Form DS-160, which is available online, must be completed. After completion of the form, a confirmation page will appear that you must save. On the day of the interview, the applicant must show the print of the confirmation page. Similar to other H visas, the H4 visa application fee is $ 190, which must be paid by the applicant. Remember to keep payment receipts because you will need them in your interview.
After submitting the DS-160 form, you must schedule an interview appointment with the US embassy where you are applying for the H4 permission. The sooner you plan your appointment, the sooner your request will be processed. When you make the appointment, you will receive a confirmation letter containing information about the day of the interview that you must save it for later.
In addition to the DS-160 form, other H4 visa documents are:
- A valid passport which has at least one blank page
- Two US visa photographs
- A $ 160 payment receipt that is paid by the applicant for a US nonimmigrant visa application
- Copy of the primary H visa holder
- Copies of I-129 form, I-797 form, and the Labor Certification Application issued to the H visa holder
- Copy of the passport of the holder of the H visa with a clear photo
- Employment letter of the H visa holder
- Copy of previous work experience of the holder of H visa
- If your spouse or parent is currently working as an H visa holder in the US, their payroll and tax filing information must be provided
- The child’s birth certificate and marriage certificate must be provided
- In some cases, it is required to provide proof of marriage, such as clear photos of the wedding, a list of wedding guests, and receipts for wedding expenses.
- If the wedding is only registered and the wedding ceremony was not held, the following documents can be sufficient:
- Pictures of you and your spouse while signing the marriage certificate
- Pictures of witnesses signing your marriage certificate
- Copy of your signed wedding registrar affidavit
As mentioned earlier, the applicant must attend an interview at the embassy. The H4 visa interview questions are designed to determine your relationship with the H visa holder. During the interview, you will be asked if your relationship with the H visa holder is genuine or fake. A consular officer will assess your intention to go to the United States. The interviewer will ask you what you will do in the US and whether you intend to engage in illegal activities. During the interview, you should provide clear reasons and be prepared to answer questions about your spouse or parents. Depending on the answers you give in the interview, it will be decided whether you will be granted this visa or not.
By entering your application number, you can check the status of your visa on the embassy’s website. Once the H4 visa application process is complete, your embassy will notify you of the result. If you have been given the visa, you must apply for visa stamping.
If you are out of the United States, you must send your application at the US embassy where your parent or spouse has applied or in your home country if you and your spouse are of different nationalities. If you are in the US, you can forward your application via the USCIS.
Having a visa does not necessarily mean entering the United States. The decision is the responsibility of the Department of Homeland Security.
How long does it take to evaluate the provided documents and issue the visa?
In general, the processing time for visas varies from country to country. Because the status of this visa depends on the status of the holder of the H visa, the H4 visa processing time may a bit long. If the applicant submits his/her visa application separately, the processing time and issuance of the visa will depend on the embassy and their workload.
How long can you stay with this visa?
When the I-797 form is issued, the date of the validity of the H visa is specified. The validity of this visa is also determined based on the same time. So if your parents or spouse has received a visa that is valid for three years, your visa will also be valid for up to three years.
How to renew this visa?
If your spouse or parents apply for a visa extension, you can also apply to extend your H4 visa by completing the Form I-539 form (Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status). Besides, the following documents must be submitted:
- A copy of your recent Form I-94
- Your spouse’s or parents current Form I-94
- Copies of I-129 form and I-797 form and a notice of approval
- It is necessary to present a marriage certificate or birth certificate to show the relationship with the holder of the H visa.
Can the H4 visa status be changed to another visa?
Visa holders can change their visa status. You can change your visa status if you can find a job position and an employer. The visa holders can also petition for a Green Card. But if you want to apply for a Green Card from this visa, this process is very time-consuming. You may have to wait years to be approved your Green Card. In this case, it is rational that you first change your visa to another visa, such as H1B, and then apply for a Green Card. So the Green Card may be issued faster.
The visa holders have educational opportunities defined for F1 visa holders. Therefore, people are allowed to study under the H4 visa. If you are accepted into a university program, you will need to change your visa to F1.
How to access healthcare under this visa?
Because the cost of health care in the United States is significantly high so that people with middle income are not able to afford treatment expenditures, therefore, the visa holders are advised to purchase appropriate health insurance. In this way, people can better manage treatment costs if someone gets ill or in an accident.
What other benefits are defined for H4 visa holders?
People with this visa, like any immigrant or citizen, can have an account at any banking institution. It is essential to provide a passport and a local ID card when opening a bank account. People can also get a driver’s license by this visa, provided they can pass the necessary tests.
They are not allowed to receive a social security number if they do not work. This number is issued to people working in the United States. Instead, they receive the ITIN tax number, which indicates that they must pay as much tax as those with a social security number.
They can not work with this visa. Since 2015, some of the visa holders are allowed to work in the United States based on the conditions defined in the H4 visa EAD program.
Let’s sum up …
This article provided an overview of the H4 permission. On the Visa Library website, you can learn about other US visas as well as ways to immigrate to other countries. In case you have some experience, please write it down in the comment section. Your comments let the readers choose better and avoid mistakes. Conveying your experiences in comments is a great help for applicants.