How to Apply for an H4 Visa from USA

The US H4 visa, also known as the Dependent Visa, is a visa category applicable to the spouse and children of US H-1B visa holders who want to accompany the H1B visa holder during their stay in America.

The Obama Administration, in 2015, had allowed such spouses to work in the US. For this, dependent visa holders, entering the US on an H4 visa, were issued employment authorization documents (EADs).

According to a recent report by the Migration Policy Institute, EADs was issued to more than 71,000 spouses of H-1B visa holders as of early 2017. However, the Trump Administration plans to revoke this work permit. This will have a devastating effect of the spouses of H-1B visa holders. Did you know, of all the spouses of H-1B visa holders working in the US, 90% are Indians?

However, this amendment will still take some time to be implemented, till which time you are free to apply for an H4 visa to visit your spouse or parents working in the US. Children of an approved H type visa holder should be under the age of 21 years to be eligible for the H4 visa.

In the US, the application for the H4 visa can be submitted through the USCIS.

Documents Required

  • Photocopies of the first, last and remarks page of your current passport and all old passports.
  • The current passport of the applicant, showing validity of more than 6 months after the expiry of the visa.
  • One photograph, according to the digital image requirements.
  • DS-160 form barcode.
  • Visa fee payment receipt.
  • Interview appointment letter.
  • Photocopy of your spouse’s/parent’s I-129 form, I-797 form, and the Labor Certification Application (LCA).
  • Photocopy of the H-1B visa, passport and letter of employment, recent pay stubs and tax filing information.
  • Marriage certificate and genuine proof of marriage, such as wedding photographs, videos, invitations, if the spouse of the H1-B visa holder is applying.
  • Original birth certificate if children of the H type visa holder are applying for an H4 visa.

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The H4 Visa Application Process

  • Fill the Online Application Form

The process of application starts by filling Form DS-160 online. On completion of this form, you will receive the DS-160 barcode. Take a printout of the barcode confirmation page and keep it safe. You’ll need to present it at the visa interview.

  • Pay the Fee

At present, the fee for an H4 visa is $190, which is similar to other H type visas. After you have paid the fee, don’t forget to save the receipt. You’ll need to present this receipt at various stages of the visa application process.

  • Schedule the Visa Interview Appointment

Just as in any other visa application, you need to schedule an interview appointment with the US embassy for the H4 visa too. This needs to be done immediately after filing the DS-160 form. Save the letter of confirmation you get on scheduling the interview for later use. The earlier you get the interview scheduled, the higher are the chances that the visa application process will be completed quickly.

On the visa interview day, confidently and honestly answer all questions asked by interviewer, who only wishes to ascertain the genuineness of your relationship with the H-type visa holder.

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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. […] new law on the cards proposes to end work authorization of dependent spouses holding H4 visas. Upon implementation, this law would affect thousands of spouses of H-1B visa holders, 90% of whom […]

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