H4 Visa Documents Required at Port of Entry

So, you’re thinking about moving to the USA because your better half is working there on an H1 visa. That’s exciting! The H4 visa is your ticket to join them. It’s like a companion visa for spouses.

Now, I’ve heard folks call the H4 visa names because, honestly, it’s tough not being able to work on it. But, don’t lose hope. If your partner is on their way to getting a green card, you can apply to work too. It’s a game-changer!

Before you pack your bags, let’s make sure you’ve got all your papers in order. It’s like packing an extra suitcase, but with documents.

Related: H4 Visa Interview Questions

Primary Documents Required

Typically, it’s recommended for H4 visa holders to carry the following key documents:

  1. The H4 visa itself.
  2. A valid I797 of the primary H1 visa holder.
  3. The marriage certificate.
  4. The passport.

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Optional Documents

In addition to the primary documents, it may be beneficial to have the following documentation on hand:

  1. Proof of the primary visa holder’s residence in the US, such as an ID copy or proof of address.
  2. Proof of the primary visa holder’s employment in the US, such as pay stubs or an employment letter.

Additional Tips

Upon arrival at the port of entry, immigration officials may ask questions to confirm your purpose of travel and, in some cases, request additional documents that substantiate your relationship with the sponsoring H1 visa holder.

Therefore, it’s prudent to carry all relevant documents with you to smooth out the process.

Furthermore, having the residential and workplace addresses of the primary visa holder at your fingertips could be advantageous.

Though it’s not a requirement, there have been instances where this information was requested. Being able to provide immediate responses may help avoid unnecessary questioning.

To conclude, these seemingly minor details could significantly improve your immigration experience.

So, remember to be well-prepared, and we wish you all the best on your journey to the United States!


  • The H4 visa lets spouses join H1 visa holders in the US.
  • Bring essential documents: H4 visa, I797, marriage certificate, and passport.
  • Optional: Proof of spouse’s US residence and employment.
  • Be ready for questions at the port of entry.
  • Knowing your spouse’s US address and workplace helps.
  • Preparation can ease your entry process.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: Can an H4 visa holder work in the US?

A: An H4 visa holder is typically not allowed to work in the US. However, they can obtain work authorization if their sponsoring spouse (H1 visa holder) has applied for a green card and has obtained an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

Q2: Can an H4 visa holder study in the US?

A: Yes, H4 visa holders are permitted to study in the US.

Q3: How long can an H4 visa holder stay in the US?

A: The duration of an H4 visa holder’s stay in the US is linked to the validity of the primary H1 visa holder’s status.

Q4: Can an H4 visa holder apply for a Social Security Number (SSN)?

A: An H4 visa holder can only apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) if they have obtained an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

Q5: Can an H4 visa holder travel outside the US and return?

A: Yes, H4 visa holders can travel outside the US and return, provided their H4 visa is still valid.

Q6: Can an H4 visa holder get a driver’s license in the US?

A: Yes, H4 visa holders are eligible to apply for a driver’s license in the US.

Q7: What is the processing time for an H4 visa?

A: The processing time for an H4 visa varies and can take several weeks or even months. It is advised to check the current processing times on the official USCIS website.

Q8: Can H4 visa status be converted to H1 visa status?

A: Yes, an H4 visa holder can change their status to H1 if they find an employer who is willing to sponsor their H1 visa.

Q9: Are children eligible for H4 visas?

A: Yes, children under the age of 21 and unmarried can be eligible for an H4 visa if one of their parents holds an H1 visa.

Q10: Can an H4 visa holder start a business in the US?

A: Starting a business in the US as an H4 visa holder is a complex topic that involves specific regulations. It is recommended to consult with an immigration attorney to understand the possibilities and legal implications.

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Mani Karthik

About the Author

Mani Karthik

Ex “NRI” and Founder of the “Back to India” movement. I share my experience about immigrating to USA here.

  1. HKG

    Is there any issue while port of entry is different than the actual city of stay.
    My family is traveling to Chicago because there is a direct flight from Delhi to Chicago.
    We live in Dallas. She is traveling with two kids so it is more convinient since Chicago is a direct flight from Delhi.

    1. Mani Karthik

      No there is no issue with that.

  2. Trupti

    If H1B holder changes jobs and gets a new I797 – will it impact on short visit travel for H4 holders?

    1. Mani Karthik

      If their H4 status is updated accordingly (if new H1B) then it should be ok.

  3. Sindhu

    IAM on h4 Visa and valid i94 till August but I don’t have i797 copy with me is there any problem at Port of entry

  4. Sindhu

    I have valid Visa and i94 till August 24 2019 but I lost my i797 copy in my home country at the Port of entry what I have to do

  5. Vinoth Kumar G

    My wife was in US now. She have h1b visa. She works in TCS. I also works in TCS. I dnt have Marriage certificate to apply h4 visa to go US. Is the marriage affidavit certificate get by notary advocate is enough for visa stamping interview process ? It is acceptable ? Then what are documents required to apply for h4 dependent visa ? Please help me.

  6. Subhash Sharma

    What if H4 is travelling without H1 Primary document

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