H-4 Visas for Family of H-1B Visa Holder
For an individual who is not a citizen of the United States to enter the country and take on employment, they must acquire an H-1B Visa. One of the most common questions asked by an individual who applies for an H-1B Visa is centered on the concern of whether their immediate family will be allowed to accompany them to the U.S. It is much less stressful for families with a provider working abroad to be able to accompany that person. The anxiety associated with long-term separation can place a substantial strain on filial relationships.
Fortunately, the U.S. allows the spouse and children of an H-1B worker to accompany them during their work assignment; however, the family will also be required to obtain a visa. Generally, the type of visa that the family will be required to obtain is an H-4 visa. Regardless of age, each family member will be required to obtain their own
There are specific requirements as far as the children of an H-1B working are concerned. For a child of an H-1B worker to qualify for an H-4 visa, they must be unmarried and under the age of 21.
Obtaining an H-4 Visa from Overseas
The most common way for a family that lives overseas to apply for an H-4 visa is to apply directly through the U.S. Consulate in the country of origin. It is important for family members to understand that they cannot apply for an H-4 visa until U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services approves the H-1B petition for the worker that will be entering the U.S. for the purpose of employment. Once the petition has been approved. The family will be able to apply for their H-4 visa at the same time that the primary worker or provider applies for their H-1B visa. Family members can also obtain their H-4 visas at any point after the H-1B visa has been approved.
The following documents must be provided to the U.S. Consulate in order to apply for an H-4 visa;
- A birth certificate or marriage license that confirms the family relationship with the person who is receiving the H-1B visa.
- A copy of the H-1B worker’s approval notice
- One passport-style photo in color
- A passport that will be valid for at least six months beyond the application date
- A DS-160 Non-immigrant Visa Application that has been completed and signed
While these aforementioned requirements are what is generally required to obtain an H-4 visa, it is important to understand that the U.S. Consulate may request additional documentation in order to approve the application.
The time that it takes to issue a visa varies by consulate, so it will be important to ask the consulate how long the process will take.
Obtaining H-4 Visa Status from Within the U.S.
A visa is actually an entry document, meaning that it is not technically possible to receive an H-4 visa if the family and the H-1B worker already reside in the U.S. In the case in which the family is already in the U.S., they will be required to file an I-539 application to change residence status with the USCIS. All family members will be able to be included on one application form. It is important to understand that this process only applies to those family members who are in the country legally, undocumented immigrants are not allowed to apply for a change in status. They will need to legally document their presence in the U.S.
What H-4 Visa Holders are Permitted to do in the U.S.
An H-4 visa status has conditions that afford the visa holder certain rights while in the U.S., including the right to matriculate to any U.S. university without obtaining and F-1 student visa prior to beginning any academic program. However, H-4 visa holders are not allowed to obtain employment in the U.S.
Simplifying the Process
The process of obtaining an H-4 visa can become immensely complicated and drawn out, depending on the timing and the specific details surrounding the application process. One way that families look to simplify the process is to hire an immigration attorney like the attorneys at NYC Immigration Lawyers.
By hiring an immigration lawyer with experience, knowledge and the time and resources to expedite the application process, not only does the family speed up the process, but they avoid the normal hassle and frustration that is associated with completing the application process on their own. NYC Immigration Lawyers will be able to help families seeking H-4 visa status get all of the facts in order. There is a substantial amount of documents, practices and details that are involved in completing the application process. An immigration attorney will be extremely familiar with the requirements, and they will be able to help the family organize and present all of the necessary information.
An attorney will also be able to handle all of the leg work, which will not only expedite the process, but it will relieve the family of the responsibility of personally delivering all of the documentation necessary to the appropriate agency offices.
NYC Immigration Lawyers will also explain the options that a family has to choose from. The lawyer does far more than simply assist the family in completing the application, they also explain the available options, such as the possibility of automatic citizenship, obtaining a green card, and more.
Obtaining an H-4 visa will allow the family of an H-1B worker to travel with them to the U.S. While obtaining an H-4 visa can be a little unnerving, hiring an immigration attorney will definitely simplify the process, and ease the strain of relocating.