How To Convert H4 Visa to H1 Visa in USA

Family members of an H1B visa holder are admitted into the US on an H4 visa. Spouses or children under the age of 21 years can be considered under this category. H4 family members can visit the US for educational purposes or employment. And, they can apply for a change in their visa status from H4 to H1B by submitting the required documents, says an article on Immihelp. H4 visa holders can open a bank account, although they can’t apply for jobs in the US without a work permit. They are not issued with a unique Social Security Number, but are provided with a Tax ID, called ITIN.

In order to explore employment opportunities in America, H4 visa holders need to file a petition with the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), requesting for a change of status and permission to work in the country. For more details, you can check the official website of USCIS.

Eligibility Criteria for Converting H4 to H1 visa status

Before filing an application for converting H4 to H1 visa status, first determine if you are eligible for this conversion. For conversion of visa status from H4 to H1 you must:

  • Have H4 visa status.
  • Have a job offer from an H1B appealing employer and be selected in the H1B visa lottery.
  • Have earlier applied for H1B status, were selected in the H1B lottery and were exempted from the H1B cap now.
  • OR have a job offer from an H1B cap exempt employer, like a non-profit institution for higher education, government research institution, etc.

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Documents Required for Conversion of H4 to H1 Visa Status

The applicant for visa status change must submit the required documents, along with their application. These include:

  • Valid passport with US visa.
  • Form I-539 and application to change status or application for extension of status.
  • Other important documents, such as employment offer letter, labor condition approval letter (LCA), support letter, etc.

Apart from documents from the applicant, their H1B employer also needs to submit some documents. The documents from the employer, which need to be submitted with the applicant’s I-129 Form, include:

  • A labor condition application certified by the US Labor Department
  • Evidence to prove that the proposed job is a specialty occupation
  • Proof that the individual has the appropriate degree, specialization and professional experience required for the concerned job
  • Copy of license to exercise the occupation.

Remember that the application process for conversion of an H4 visa to H1B visa status is similar to applying for an H1B visa from outside the US. You need to file an additional Form I-538 for changing your non-immigrant status. Make sure you submit all the necessary documents and fill the change of status application accurately.

Are you still confused how to convert your H4 visa status to H1B? You can consult an immigration lawyer in the US, who will help you understand the process and guide you through it.

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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.