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H-4 Family Resources

Inviting Family Members

Overview: spouses and unmarried minor children (under 21 years of age) are eligible for H-4 status.

Inside the U.S. Change or Extension of Status (Form I-539)

Usually, H-4 applications are submitted to IFSO at the same time as an initial or extension H-1B Request. However, dependents may apply for H-4 status at any time on their own, after the principal has obtained H-1B status. If the eligible dependent is inside the U.S., the dependent family member(s) would file a change of status application, Form I-539 with USCIS prior to the end date of the current immigration status. See USCIS instructions and form for further information. As a courtesy, we will submit the I-539 application along with the I-129 petition for the H1B principal applicant. Please note, the Form I-539 is a self-petition, and you and your dependent(s) are responsible for making sure that the application is completed correctly and all fees and documents are included.

Outside of the U.S. Applying for an H-4 Visa Abroad

If the dependent member(s) are outside of the U.S. or travel outside of the U.S. after the I-539 Change of status to H-4 has been approved, a dependent may apply for an H-4 visa (entry stamp) at the U.S. Consulate with the original Form I-797 of the H-1B principal. We recommend you check the U.S. Consulate’s website for specific information and required documentation. We also recommend the H-4 dependent visa applicant show at the minimum the following documents:
  • Original Form I-797 of the H-1B principal
  • Original Form I-797 of the H-4 dependent(s) (only if applicable and change of status to H-4 approved inside US previously)
  • H-4 spouse: proof of legal marriage with certified English translations, if needed
  • H-4 dependent children: proof of relationship (e.g. birth certificate or family registry) with certified English translations, if needed
  • Evidence of employment: employment verification letter and 2 month’s recent pay statements for H1-B principal, if the H-1B is currently inside the U.S. in H-1B status

Please see the Travel & Re-Entry section for further information.

H-4 Study

H-4 dependents may study in the U.S., full- or part-time. Dependents should weigh the benefits of changing their status to F-1 versus remaining in H-4 status.

International Family Orientation and Tour

Enjoy coffee, conversation and friendship every first and third Wednesday of the month at 9:15 a.m., at McGill Hall 2nd Floor Suite 2126. Children are welcome to attend.

Additional Resources