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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 forms for further information.  

As a courtesy, we will submit the I-539 application along with the I-129 petition for the H-1B principal applicant. Please note, the Form I-539 is a personal application, and you and your dependent(s) are responsible for making sure that the application is completed correctly and all fees and documents are included. Please see the I-539 and I-539A guide; IFSO will neither review nor accept appointments for I-539 forms, but will file the personal application simultaneously with the I-129 petition for the H-1B principle applicant.

Forms Fees Check Issuance Guide USCIS Instructions IFSO Guide

Form I-539

Form is only needed for applicant


only needed for applicant 

One check.

Check must be made out to “US Department of Homeland Security.” In the “Memo” section of check, write the name of each applicant and co-applicant. 

Form I-539 (PDF) and Instructions (PDF).

I-539 guide (PDF) and Examples (PDF).

Form I-539A

Form is only needed for co-applicants


needed for each applicant and co-applicant

Every applicant and co-applicant must pay an $85 fee including minors. Each $85 fee must be issued on its own check.

Checks must be made out to “US Department of Homeland Security.” In the “Memo” section of check, write the name of the dependent. 

Form I-539A (PDF) and Instructions (PDF).

I-539A guide (PDF) and Examples (PDF).

 Tip: The $370 and $85 fees noted above are not applicable for individuals seeking H-1B status; these fees are for dependents seeking a change or extension of status to H-4 status. H-1B applicants have their own set of H-1B fees.


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.

Please Note: The family orientation session schedule is subject to change, visit the IFSO programs and event page to view the current schedule.

Additional Resources

IFSO Listserv!

Subscribe to the listserv for International Faculty, Scholars, and Dependents! The listserv includes immigration updates, workshops, and upcoming event information.


Contact IFSO!

International Faculty & Scholars Office (IFSO)
Phone: (858) 246-1448