If an individual is the spouse or unmarried child (under 21 years of age) of a temporary nonimmigrant worker, they may apply for an H-4 visa to seek permission to enter and reside in the U.S. during their family member’s H visa validity period.

Who Can Apply for the H-4 Visa?

The H-4 nonimmigrant visa allows family members to accompany a temporary nonimmigrant worker to the United States. The H-4 visa applies to spouses and qualifying children of the following visa holders:

  • H-1B: specialty occupations, DOD researcher/development project worker, or fashion model of distinguished ability
  • H-1C: registered nurse performing services in a health professional shortage area
  • H-2A: temporary agricultural workers
  • H-2B: temporary non-agricultural workers
  • H-3: trainee or special education exchange visitor

Work Authorization for Certain H-4 Visa Holders

Most H-4 dependent spouses are not qualified to apply for work authorization, though they and their children are allowed to reside in the United States.  

If you are the spouse of an H-1B visa holder, however, you may be eligible to receive work authorization under the H-4 visa. This is only true if your H-1B nonimmigrant spouse has begun the process of seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident status.

USCIS describes the purpose of granting employment authorization to qualifying spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants as an attempt to “support the goals of attracting and retaining highly skilled foreign workers and minimizing the disruption to U.S. businesses resulting from H-1B nonimmigrants who choose not to remain in the United States and pursue LPR status.”

To apply for employment authorization:

  • Your H-1B nonimmigrant spouse has received H-1B status under the AC21 (American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000), allowing H-1B nonimmigrants to remain and work in the U.S. beyond the six-year limit if they are seeking employment-based lawful permanent residency; OR
  • Your H-1B nonimmigrant spouse is the primary recipient of an approved Petition for Alien Worker (Form I-140).

If you are eligible to apply for work authorization, you must carefully fill out the newest version of Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, and submit it with all proper filing fees and adequate supporting evidence of your H-4 status, your relationship to the H-1B nonimmigrant, your government-issued identification, and your basis for eligibility.

How We Can Help

Youngblood & Associates is highly experienced in the immigration processes applicable not only to temporary workers but also to individuals and families. Because we are knowledgeable regarding both aspects of the immigration system, we can serve you effectively as you seek to accompany your spouse to the United States.

The team at Youngblood & Associates will assist you in filing for the appropriate H-4 visa and will guide you through the entire process. If you are the H-4 dependent spouse of an H-1B visa holder and wish to seek employment authorization, our skilled legal team will work with you to determine your eligibility, properly file your application, and obtain work authorization for you in the United States.

Not sure what you need?

Call our office today at 931-274-7811 to schedule your FREE first consultation or complete a service inquiry form to get your process started today.

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