H-4 Visa

  I am on H4 visa right now and I am in the USA currently. I am applying for my H1 visa on the 1st of April and I wish to travel to India on the 10th of April for a month and be back on 10th of May. Can I travel without affecting my h1 application on my h4b status? My h1 will be effective from Oct 1 2007.

  1. You can travel on your H4 to India and come back. This will not affect your H1 application because it has not yet been approved and you haven't started to work on H1, but we have heard that there can be some queries if you are going to use your current I-94 as a part of the application.
  2. You will be able to stamp your H1 only by leaving the country .i.e. by going to your country of origin.
  3. We strongly recommend that you talk to the attorney who is processing your H1 before you make the trip.

  My wife is holding H1 visa, now I am planning to apply for H4 but already my H1 visa was rejected in 2005 October, is there any problem in this case. (Rejection was happened because of Fake experience certificate).

  1. You can separately apply for H4 provided you have the correct documentation which is required for an H4.
  2. Please note that there will be increased scrutiny of your visa since the US consulate will have records of your visa rejection.

  I am on H4 visa right now and I am in the USA currently. I am applying for my H1 visa on the 1st of April and I wish to travel to India on the 10th of April for a month and be back on 10th of May. Can I travel without affecting my h1 application on my h4b status? My h1 will be effective from Oct 1 2007.

  1. You can travel on your H4 to India and come back. This will not affect your H1 application because it has not yet been approved and you haven't started to work on H1, but we have heard that there can be some queries if you are going to use your current I-94 as a part of the application.
  2. You will be able to stamp your H1 only by leaving the country .i.e. by going to your country of origin.
  3. We strongly recommend that you talk to the attorney who is processing your H1 before you make the trip.

  My wife is now in India. I am applying for her H1 April 2007. Is it possible for my wife to get H-4 stamping in June when her H1B petition is approved with start date of October 2007?

  1. Your wife can get her H4 stamped in June even if her H-1B petition is approved with start date of October 2007, since the visa approval is yet to become valid.
  2. She can enter the US on an H-4 visa and start to work after October 1st on an H1.
  3. She will need to stamp her H1 the next time she goes out of the US.

  I hold an H1B visa valid through February 2008. I worked in the US till July 2006 after which I was in India. I will join the same company in March 2007 and go to the US. My company will give me a letter explaining that I was away from work for 9 months due to personal family reasons. I will be getting married on February 20th 2007. My fiancée, currently working in India, has a B1 business visa through her company for 10 years, on which she has traveled once.

  1. Can she take an appointment as early as February 21st, provided we have all the necessary documents for her H-4 visa?
  2. Will her B1 business visa get cancelled after they issue the H-4 visa?
  3. Does she have to travel immediately after the H-4 visa is issued?
  4. Will the fact that I do "not" have pay stubs for August 2006 to date, pose an issue for her?
  5. In this scenario, would it be more advisable for me to go to the US first and for her to go to through the visa application process after 2-3 months?
  1. We recommend that your fiancée go for stamping after you have entered the US and worked for a period of 2 months to be on the safe side.
  2. Her business visa will get canceled as and when they issue her H-4 visa.
  3. The fact that you do not have any pay stubs since August 2006 will pose an issue for her if she goes for stamping in February.
  4. Once again, we recommend that her visa be processed 2-3 months after reaching the US.
  5. Please talk to your company attorney before taking any final decision on this.

  I am currently on an H1-B visa; it got approved on October 1st 2006. I am getting married in June, 2007 to my fiancée who is currently on a J visa without the 2yr requirement, her J visa expires in September 2007, can she apply for and H4 visa and remain in the country after September?

  1. When you get married in June 2007, your fiancée/wife automatically is eligible for an H4 visa.
  2. She can remain in the US after the expiry of her J visa based on the fact that she is automatically eligible for an H4 visa, but, she has to stamp her H4 in the country of her origin if she leaves the US.
  3. Please talk to an attorney before taking any decision in this matter. Our response is based on our past experience.

  I am in London and recently got my H1-B stamped here in London. My husband is studying MBA here and will finish in another 3months.I want to know if he can apply for H4 visa now with me before completing his studies however he will enter the US after completing his studies. Your advice would be very helpful.

  1. Your husband can get his H4 stamped with or without the completion of his studies since H4 is only a dependant visa which is issued on the basis of marriage and not on qualification.

  I am currently on an H1-B at an academic institution due to expire March 2008. My girlfriend is a post doc on a J visa with about 3 months remaining on her status. She is currently looking for other postdoc/jobs. We have talked about getting married. Would she have to leave the US upon expiration of her J or is a conversion to something like an H4 possible if she is unable to find a job position?

  1. Once your girlfriend gets legally married to you and you have a marriage certificate, she automatically is eligible for her H4 status. The H4 status automatically kicks in when her J visa gets over.
  2. She would have to get her H4 stamped whenever she leaves the US.
  3. Based on our experience, conversion from one visa category to another is not possible and since you have an H1 visa your wife can stay on in the US on the basis of her H4, subject to her getting married before the expiry of the J visa.

  I have recently been approved for the H1B visa.I am a U.K citizen.I understand that I still have to make an appointment at the U.S embassy in London for an interview.If I am granted my H1B visa, can my wife who is a Thai citizen apply for her H4 visa in her own country with myself by her side? Or does my wife have to apply for a holiday visa to the U.K first, so my wife can take the same appointment as myself.

  1. The law states that the person has to apply for the visa in there own country only.
  2. But since US/UK share a special relationship there has been cases where this regulation has been waived based on certain cases / valid reasons.
  3. We recommend that you first stamp your H-1 visa and then enter usa to start work
  4. Then your wife can apply for H-4 in her native country.
  5. Please talk to attorney who applied for your H-1 in this matter and follow his instruction.

  I am currently working in the US on a H1B VISA (already Stamped).I will be getting married on Jan 29th, 2007. A few questions:

1) Can my fiancée apply for a H4 Visa interview appointment with the US consulate before our marriage (Of course the appointment date will be after the wedding)
2) Can I accompany her to the interview?
3) Our plan is that she attends the interview just 2 days after our wedding. (We will get our marriage certificate & wedding album ready by then). Does it matter if the appointment is too soon after marriage?

  1. Your fiancée can apply for a visa only after there is a marriage certificate or the actual marriage has taken place, the reason being that she is eligible for an H4 visa only after she is legally married.
  2. These days visa appointments are available in less than 15 days. There have been cases where people have applied for and have got appointment dates before the wedding, but the actual date is after the wedding. We recommend that you talk to your attorney and then take a decision. We have heard of cases where there have been issues.
  3. You cannot accompany your wife to the interview.
  4. As long as the documentation regarding your marriage is in order there is no bar in having an appointment immediately after the marriage.

  I am currently an F1 student and will finish my MBA in Dec 2006. I am planning to convert my visa to H1 in US. I married officially in India in June 2005. My wife tried for an F2 visa but was denied. 1. What is the probability of my wife getting an H4 visa as opposed to an F2 visa? Will I have to get my visa stamped in my passport even if it approved before my wife applies for an H4 in India? How long should I have to wait after my H1 is approved to apply for an H4 for my wife? Should the W2 forms accompany my wife during the H4 visa interview, as I could only provide the stubs in my initial period my H1 status? What are the prospective questions asked in an H4 visa interview and what are the chances of my wife getting an H4 visa as she is an F2 rejected?

  1. The probability of your wife getting an H4 visa is high compared to getting an F2 visa, reason being that you have a job which pays you a salary on a regular basis.
  2. It is advised that you get your visa stamped with H1 in India before your wife applies for H4, because she has a visa application, although in a different category, which was rejected in the past.
  3. You can get your visa stamped in India as soon as it has been approved and you have worked for 3 months with your employer. We are suggesting this so that you don't take any chances.
  4. All forms which say that you are employed and pay taxes will help in the H4 approval.
  5. Please inform your wife to say that she plans to stay at home during the period of your H1-B.

  I came to the US about a year back on H1 along with my wife and kid who have H4 visas. My wife and daughter went back to India for my wife's delivery and my second child will be born in India.

I have 2 queries:

  1. Is there any special consideration for appointments for newborn babies? Does my second child need a H4 in the first place?
  2. My H1 is sponsored by Company A. I have a very good opportunity from Company B who is ready to transfer my H1 and my family's H4. This company will also be applying for my GC. What are the implications of me joining Company B while my family is still in India? Should I wait for my family to come back to US before I join Company B?

  1. All people traveling to the US need a passport and thereby a visa. Your wife will need to go to the Consulate to obtain a visa for your second child.
  2. We recommend that you stay with Company A till your family comes back.
  3. There have been many cases where a person has changed jobs while their dependants are out of the country. There is a bit of documentation that needs to be done incase you change jobs.
  4. Technically, re-stamping needs to be done based on your H1 transfer since there is a change in status while outside the country.
  5. Please talk to your company lawyer before you take any action.

  Recently I got married in Delhi, my wife is in US on H1 visa from last three years. I am in London from last three years on work permit. I got an appointment in US embassy here in London on 15th September for my H4 visa. Is there any problem if I will apply H4 visa from London? I have refeused on B2 visa one year before when she was my fiancée. My wife has sent me all the required documents for H4 visa like copy of I797,visa copy, last three months salary slip, last three months bank statement and lease agreement for address proof? Please let me know if I need any other documents? Please suggest, should I apply from London for India? I am resident in UK from last three years.

  1. Please ask your wife to send you a letter signed by her employer stating that she is employed by that particular firm and that the US Consulate in the UK can get in touch with her employer for any confirmation.
  2. You will also need to have a copy of your marriage certificate, wedding invitation, video cassette or VCD of the wedding.
  3. You also need to prove to the US Consulate that you have been living in London for the past three years in terms of taxes, proof of residence etc.
  4. The B2 visa refusal does not play any factor in this.
  5. We recommend that you try to apply for H1 from London. Please ensure that you talk to your wife's employer before you go for stamping in London.

  I attended for H1B visa in Chennai Consulate on September 21st, 2005.The Consulate Officer has given me 221(g) query form stating "Administrative processing" and has taken all the related documents i.e. I-797 and LCA paper's etc. Till date whenever I try to mail the Consulate Officer (Chennai Govt) the answer from them is we can't tell the time frame for this query and need some more time to process this query. Acutally, I have completed my MBA in 2001 and by the time I attended the consulate I had 3 & 1/2 yrs of IT experience. INS have approved my H1. But the consular at the time of interview told me that a Non-IT candidate should have at least 6 yrs of work experience in IT in order to apply for H1. If this is the case then how did INS approve my H1?. And also I have seen lot many Non-IT guys for whom the H1 visa has been issued by the Chennai Consulate with only 3 or 4 yrs of exp. My fiancée got H1B stamped in Feb 2006 and she went to US in April 2006 from then she is on bench and she does not have any paystubs till now i.e., July 2006. We are planning to get married in September, 2006 in India. My question is whether

  1. Without the pay stubs of my fiancée can I attend the Consulate for H4 visa? will their be any problem in attending the Chennai Consulate for getting H4 stamped without the paysutbs of my fiancee.
  2. If H4 is stamped, and when I go to USA whether can I change my H4 to H1? and do I need to attend the Consulate to transfer my H4 to H1. If so where shall I have to attend? In India or USA.
  3. Does my query i.e. Administrative processing" in any way affect me while I attending the consulate for H4? Or will it effect me at the time of transferring from H4 to H1? Right now am working for a MNC company in India and came on overseas site in UK for the same company on work permit. I have seen people who went to US on H4 and later they got the INS approved.Now they are working in US without the H1 stamping done(with only INS approval letter). If this is possible then can I even apply for new INS? if so after how much time period?

  1. INS approves H-1B Visas based on the documents submitted.It is the Consulate\'s right to validate the approvals.The approval at the Consulate also depends on which university you passed out from and the company you are currently working for.It also depends on the company which applied for your H1.
  2. Pay stubs are essential especially when you attend a H4 Visa since your fiancee has just moved to the US.
  3. If you go to the US you will not be able to change your H4 to H1 since your case is pending with the US Consulate.
  4. You will have to come to Chennai to transfer your H4 to H1.
  5. "Administrative processing" means that the US Consulate is verifying your credentials.They would raise queries at the time when you apply for your H4.
  6. It is possible to go to the US on H4 and then get your H1 in the US,but please note-your details are under verification and it can affectthe application process even in the US.Please talk to your company lawyer before taking any action.

 I am presently on F1 visa and on my OPT. I am currently working for a company in USA and company will be sponsoring my H1 visa. However, I got married last year on April when I visited India on F1 visa. My wife applied for F2 visa but got rejected 3 times. Would it be advisable to apply for tourist visa. Can she apply for H4 visa once my application has been approved by INS in US (even though I don't have H1 stamped on my passport). Is there a way she can visit me at the earliest?

  1. Please start working on your approved H1 visa.
  2. Please ensure that you have worked on the H1B visa for a period of 4-6months.
  3. Once you have worked for 4-6months on the approved H1, you can ask your wife (if documentation is available) to apply for her H4.
  4. Please ensure that your wife satisfies all requirements for the H4 visa.
  5. No offence meant to you, but please ensure that your wife's visa status to travel to the US is fully legal.

 I am on extended H1 visa which is approved until Oct 2007. I am going to complete 6 years on 10th august 2006. My son is studying in the college and he has H4 visa. He will complete his 21 years on 15th March 2009. Now due to personal reason I am going back to India at the end of May 2006 and will not return back in near future. My company will not cancel my H1. Also my company is continuing my GC process. My son will stay in USA. He has also extended H4 visa until Oct 2007. My questions are: How long he can be on H4 visa in USA? When he need to change his visa status to F1? I am planning to keep him on H4 as long as he can, as fee structure is very high on F1 compare to H4. What documents he has to produce when he will apply for F1? Will my GC process will be affected due to his stay on H4 in my absence? Please advice me on this.

  1. Your H1 visa is considered to be under status as long as you are employed and paid monthly salary on a regular basis in the US.
  2. Technically when you come back to India, the H4 visa are valid generally as long as you are on regular status on H1 in the US.
  3. Since your company is not cancelling your H1, it is also imperative for you to get a declaration that you will be on leave or you have been deputed on work and that you are still an employee in the US. As long as your company is willing to keep your status alive, your son can be on H4 till 2007.
  4. Once when your status expires, ie., October 2007, he would need to convert to F1. There is no relationship between your green card process and his H4. Despite all this we would recommend that you be in the US till the time your green card process reaches the final status.
  5. Please talk to your company's attorney in this matter.

 I am getting married and my wife will apply for H4 on May 2nd week but my current H1B expires in June 25th. My extension has been applied but I will not be receiving the approval before May. So will my wife be approved for a H4 for only one month. Also if my approval is delayed beyond June, will she have to come back to India and wait till I get my approval?

  1. Technically even if your approval is delayed beyond June, she need not come back to India provided her supplementary application for extension of her H4 is filed.
  2. This would involve additional expenditure since your company lawyer would have to file the petition for your wife's visa extension again.
  3. Please be aware that the US Consulate can raise queries when your wife applies for an H1since the period remaining in current H1 is very less. To avoid that we recommend you to submit papers which say that your extension has already been applied for.
  4. We strongly recommend that you talk to your attorney before submitting any additional documents along with your wife's H4 application.

 I have few queries regarding H4 visa and my H1 transfer. Here is a brief description of the situation followed by queries. Company A is my original H1B sponsor and I have been working with Company A, since I entered US. Now, I got a very good offer from another Company B, who is ready to do my H1 transfer, but the process has not started yet. On the other hand, I have taken a H4 visa appointment for my wife who is currently in India. The appointment is at Chennai consulate and is about 20 days from now. a) Is it safe to send my H4 visa interview, while I am undergoing this transition. What do you suggest? Should I send her to interview while I am still with Company A, or send her after my transition to the Company B. What is the advantage of either approach? b) Can I travel to India, while my H1 transfer is in process? What are the documents I need to show at the port of entry, if I had to really travel in such period? c) How much time does a H1B premium transfer processing usually take and what is the fee for it? d) Are there any other complexities, subtle issues you see in the above scenario. Basically I want to bring my wife here as soon as possible. But two other situations which has cropped up are a) my interest to transfer to another company b) a possible travel to India, after or in between the transfer process. Your suggestion is really crucial to me.

  1. Please ensure your wife goes for the H4 stamping only after your transfer process is fully complete
  2. Please note US consulate verifies the result of the transfer application before stamping of dependant visas
  3. The reason for saying this is that, there a lot of queries being asked during the transfer due a lot of scams and scandals which have come up recently
  4. We advise you not to travel while the transfer process is under process since technically your case is under process unless it is an emergency

In short, please finish your transfer process before you do anything i.e., sending your wife for H-4 or travelling to India. Please talk to your attorney before doing anything.

 My friend has a peculiar situation here. He recently got married and came back. He is on H1 on company A then. He sent his papers to his wife on the company A. After coming back he got a new job in Company B. So he applied for a new H1. He still didn’t get a receipt. He is still with company A and yet to move to company B. His wife went to consulate on Feb11th 2006. They asked her for a original 797 and 2005 w2 form(she actually took copy of 797 & 2004 w2form) and ask her to come back on March 1st. What does she need to do in this situation? Can my friend sent her company A's original 797 as he is still with them and he is going to join the new one may be end of February? I would greatly appreciate your immediate response.

  1. Please note that whenever you go for H4 stamping, you need to carry all originals. She can go for stamping in March with original 797, original 2005 w2 and other documents which are required in March when she goes for stamping.
  2. It is advisable that your friend's husband remains with Company A till his wife's visa is stamped. This means that he shouldn't join Company B till his wife's H4 is stamped.
    Please ask him to talk to the lawyer of Company B before he takes any further steps.

my wife got her H4 visa stamped on march 21 2005 in chennai... i am on a H1 also stamped on march 21 2005..i am here in usa now..she is in india..is there a maximum time frame that she has to be here in usa and get her passport stamped at port of entry in usa??she is planning to come to usa on 30 june..is that ok??or is there some rule that says H4 visa holders should get passport stamped at port of entry within 90 days of visa issual??pls let me know...your answer would be very helpful..rgds

She can enter US before the expiry of H4 visa. When she comes in June, she should have latest paystub, letter from your present employer, stating that you are working for that company.

Hi , REcently on Feb 4th i attended embassy for my h4 visa but the visa officer asked a query that i need to submit my husband's w2 forms for 2004 and his play slips for 2004.my husband is on h1b1 currently.can u please tell me whether this is a complicated query or if i submit these documents i will be issued h4 visa.

W2 forms are tax paid.
Take all these forms for H4.

I am in US on H1B visa.My husband will be joining me on H4. I wanted to know whether he can study while in H4 visa ? what is the formlity to convery H4 to F1?

He can study on H4 but the fees will be high and come to India for stamping.

I am in H4 visa status ,am i eligiable for unpaid internship?

No work permit allowed on H4 visa.

Prior to joining company 'B' on Dec 15th 2004 , me and my wife was holding a H1B & H4 visa respectively from company 'A' . The old visa and I-94 expiry date is Oct 2005 .

Company B filed my Transfer(Extension) FOR ONLY ME (and not for my wife) and as of today I have only received approval notice I-797 but not the visa papers. Meanwhile, my wife had to go back to India . Now she is in India right now . My questions are:

A) Can she come back with the original H4 visa which has a different company name on it ?
B) If 'YES' then she will get the I-94 of previous visa expiry date i.e Oct 2005 . What options she has to extend her visa and get a new I-94 which is in tandem with the Principal H1 visa after coming back to US ..

You can't come back on original H4.

I have come to US one month before. My visa status is H4 right now. I have SSN number and worked in US before on L1B visa. I would like to know that If some employer sponsors my H1B visa. When can I actually start working. Is it 1 Oct 2005 or April 12005 after filing my H1B?

You can start working only when H1 B is approved.

Hi , I'm on H4 visa now and my visa is valid till 2006.. I want to work in US , but the problem is my visa , can u briefly tell me the process for getting a job being on H4 visa .. Thanks in advance..

No, you cannot work on H4 visa.

I am on L1 visa and my wife and my daughter are in l2 visas, and i applied for h1 and h4 visa in 2004 quota.. My h1 visa got approved and valid from Nov 2004. I havnet joined to new h1 company.. When i enquired today, it seems they havent failed h4 visa to my wife and daughter. Is it illegal to stay here with that state..I need suggestions/information to get rid of this issue

There is nothing called filing for H4 visa.

If H1 is approved then H4 visa is possible for Wife.

I came to USA on H4 visa, as i have a 5 months baby i want to work frm home.can Ido this or should i change my visa status.whom should I approach in case of change of visa as i still dont have an employer.

You cannot work on H4 visa.

i m on H4 in USA now but wants to convert my status from H4 to F1 what's the procedure? could u pls guide me?

Firstly get admission in college.
Get it stamped in the native country.

I got my h1b visa approved this month. I have a question, what are the things to be done when one changes his status from h4 to h1 visa. Thanks for your time and consideration.

You can work on H1 b visa, if you travel outside US, and then get it stamped in the native country.

Hi, Thank you for your informative web site. I am on H4 Visa in USA. My husbend have a company with other partners in USA. can i work in that company for partime, with out any remuneration?.I am thinking of doing this to help my husband and to get experience in the area of their business. is it leagel to do so? Please reply

Yes, U can work in the same company.

I came USA in this month only my wife H4 stamping is in coming weeks time..problem is that i dont have any payslip right now as i dont have my SSN i aplied for that .i got some case when i came from my country..i am on H1B..So please tell me payslip is necessary requirement for H4 or i can send her any letter from my USA company stating my salary ..will it work ..please help

Get 3 months of tax paid & deducted forms, Until then don't send your wife for H4 stamping.

I am currently in US on H1B. I want to bring my wife on H4. For that reason, I want to give all my required documents to my wife. My question is, do I need to send my original payslips and W2s to my wife or photo copy of them is okay ? She is preparing to go to consulate soon.

All pay slips has to be original or notarized copies of the pay slips.

My fiancee is applying to B-schools in the US for fall 2005. We plan to get married around early May and she might come over to the US on H4 visa. Will it be possible for her to convert it to F1 later on ? How soon can this be done ? Thanks

Conversion of H4 to F1 is not possible.
TO get it stamped you have to go to native country.

hai, when i came to US i came on a J2 visa, then my husbands visa changed so now i am on H4, when i go to india i will have to get the visa stamped, is it very difficult these days to get H4 visa? my friends in india say they are rejecting H1 and H4 visas. i have stayed in the US for 3 years do you think i will have a problem. please advice.

As long as your documentation is in place you should not have an issue to get your h4 stamped

I have an F1 visa in my passport valid till 2005. I recently converted from F1 to H4 and have my H4 approval notice. Do I have to go to India to get my H4 stamped in my passport or can I get that done from the U.S?

YUnder the revised rules you need to go to India get your new visa stamped.

I'm on a H4 visa for last 3 months and my company in India would like to apply for L1 visa (i'm on unpaid leave right now with this company). Can my company apply for L1 while I'm in the US without having to go to india for the processing?

Your company can apply for your L1 while you are in India and you will need to go to India for stamping as when it is approved.

My spouse is on H4 and is an artist.

1. Is she allowed to sell her paintings while in USA.

2. Is she allowed to take art classes at home for a fee ?

3. Is she allowed to enroll at a college/university without changing her visa status

1. She cannot be paid for anything legally in the USA while on a H4 visa.

2. She can do her paintings and technically you can be paid for the work as if you have done the work. But it is not strictly within the law to do so.

3. But be careful and talk to a lawyer before you anything.

I am getting married in january. my fiance is on H1-B working in USA. He has not yet gone for visa stamping.Is it necessary to take appointments before going for h1 or h4 visa and if so, how many days before appointment has to be taken? And what are the procedures of taking appointments?

1. You need to take appointments for visa stamping.

2 Also please visit the website of the US Embassy or US Consulate for more details.

Very informative website. Both my wife and I are H-1B holder and this is our 6th year as H visas holders. My company applied for my green card in April 2001 and just got the EDD approved in September 2004 and now is presently in the labor dept for LCA approval. My wife's company did not apply her for green card because we were relying on my company's petition. Can my wife extend her H-1B or convert to H-4? What other options does she have in order to stay here in the US legally?

1. Your wife can stay in the USA technically as you have a valid h1 and by default she can stay on H4 status. She automatically moves into h4 when her H1 expires.

2. Please also talk to a lawyer in this matter as it involves your green card.

I'm on H4 Visa in the US. Wanted to know all the possibilities & procedures:
1. To get an L1 Visa (my company's branch office is there in the US)
2. To get an H1 Visa

1. There are no H1s till next year.

2. As regards L1 it is possible provided you have worked in the country where your company is headquartered for atleast 1 year.

My wife is on H1 and I am on H4 Recently I appiled for my conversion of H4 to H1 my case has been approved, from the INS its has been more than a month I have not received any form of documentation or any paper from INS As I am on H4 i cant get a SSN or apply for SSN without proper documents My employer says they havent received the documents and my h1 was done in premuim proccesing, my status was approved in within a day, more than a month no documents I am not able to apply for SSN, imp: Can I join on work without all these things (SSN no docs.) How will the employer run my monthly paystub if he doesnt have my SSN or my papers can I leaglly work only on the basis of approval, without having paper in hand. And what is TIN ?

You cannot join for work or be paid legally unless you have the approval in your hand from BCIS.

I am currently in the US on a H4 visa as a dependent child. My father's H1 expired in Feb2004, and a request for extension had been filed by his employer in Jan2004. At the same time, a request for extension of the family H4 was also filed.
Since INS now takes 150-180 days to process non-premium H1 requests, we are expecting the renewal to happen in June-july. However I turn 21 in mid-july, and so my H4 would be valid only until that date.

I have been accepted into a Graduate Program as an international student and plan to move to an F1. However, the University is not sending me the I20 papers at this time, since my H4 is not current(it is under renewal).

What happens if the H4 renewal, for some reason is delayed beyond my 21st birthday in mid July?
Is the university correct in its above contention, in delaying the I20 papers until the H4 is renewed?
Could you please clarify.

1. I am sure you would be in status by now.

2. The university is right in holding back your papers. Else the other route would have been to apply as an international student.

3. Please talk to an attroney in case you are out of status now.

Hi, I'm having H1B visa and I'm going to get married in Jan'05. Can I get my wife to US in tourist or visitor visa and change the ststus to H4 later?.

Technically you can do it. But to get her h4 stamped in her passport, she has to go to India. Please also talk to an attorney in this matter.

My H1B got expired and my current employer have already filed for etension(Both my H1 and my wife's H4). I am changing my job and my new employer will file for a H1 Transfer. My question is my wife who is on H4, need to visit India and return once my H1 extension is approved. Obviously her H4 is expired as of now. Can she get her H4 stamped from US consulate in India without my H1 being stamped . Also another question is when my new employer transfer my H1 , should they transfer H4 also? Please advice..

1. Under the new rules, your new visa has to be stamped in the passport before the same H4 is stamped.

2. Also please talk to a lawyer in this matter, for there is a lot of subjectiveness in the law as far as transfer is concerned.

3. But our experience shows it is better to get to get your visa stamped with the new h1 before your wife travels to India on the same.

I am in the US on an H-4 visa. I present shows for an Asian radio station. I am pursuing the work as a hobby and do not receive any salary for it. Will the work have an adverse effect on my visa? Will the INS consider this illegal?

The INS will not consider you work illegal if you possess relevant documents to prove the voluntary nature of the service.

My friend is planning to travel to the US on an H-4 visa. His spouse, an H-1B visa holder, is on bench and has not received her due salary for the period. Will my friend be denied entry to the US, as his spouse does not possess pay stubs for the period of employment?

Your friend will not encounter any problems if the H-1B papers are in order and the employer does not cancel the visa. The person can be on bench, but she should be on the rolls of the employer. In case officials at the port of entry call the employer, he/she should say that the H-1B holder is still working. We do not think you need pay stubs.

In August 2000, while I was working with Company A, I returned to India to get married. My wife got her H-4 on the basis of Company A's H-1B visa, which was valid till 24 August, 2001. I got another H-1B from Company B, which I had applied for prior to my marriage. In November 2000, I began to work for Company B. However, I did not apply for change in my spouse's H-4. In Feb 2001, I joined Company C and duly applied for H-1B and H-4 extension. I was laid off from Company C in July 2001 and returned to work with Company B. the Company, however, did not apply for H-4 extension. According to Company B's attorney, the H-4 extension application must reach INS before the visa expires on 24 August 2001. I sent the papers to the attorney on 21 August 2001. The subsequent day, attorney forwarded the same to the INS. According to the attorney, the application would be considered even if INS receives the papers after 24 August 2001. Can you please clarify my spouse's status?

I have another question. My H-1B from Company B was approved from the Texas Center. My attorney has sent my wife's H4 application to California Center.

Did you apply for transfer of visa from Company C to Company B when you restarted work for the latter? If you have, you do not need to worry.

Assuming you have applied for transfer of visa, and got it duly stamped on your passport, your spouse can get her H-4 stamped from the State Department in the US.

As long as your wife has applied for an H-4 extension, she can stay in the US till the INS takes a decision on the application.

The attorney would have sent the papers to the California Center, as it must be the nearest center to your place of stay. In case you are in Texas, please check whether your company has filed for change in LCA

When my wife applied for her H-4 visa, the Consulate officer asked her to come again as she did not have marriage photographs. My spouse explained that we had a civil wedding and she does not have photographs of the ceremony. The Consulate officer refused to heed to her reasoning.

The next day the visa was rejected. Can my spouse apply again? Do I have to marry again in order to have wedding snaps? Is there any other option?

Please get a letter from your employer addressed to the Consulate about your case. Please ensure that you have at least a wedding invitation. In case you do not, please print one. Please carry additional documentation that proves your relationship such as Joint Bank Account, Certificate from a Notary, Passport entries etc.

Please also let her carry documentation regarding your salary etc. Please ask your employer's lawyer to call the US Consulate on your behalf.

I found your web site a very useful resource. I was working in Nokia, Boston till May 2001 after which our division including me got relocated to Nokia, California, where I work now. I have my H-1B visa stamped on my passport for the H-1B petition issued for Nokia, Boston. However, after coming to California, my company filed an H-1B amendment and I now have a new H-1B petition approved. I am going to India to get married this weekend. I believe I will have to get a new visa stamping at Chennai US Consulate before I enter the US again. I also have to apply for my wife's H-4 visa. What is the time interval you suggest between the application for the H-1B and the H-4 visa stamping? Please advise on any precautions that I need to take while applying.

The amendment to your H-1B would be in terms of the LCA. Since your employer is still Nokia, I do not think you need to re-stamp your H-1B. Please recheck with your company lawyer to be sure and of course safe in these hard times where every Asian is look as a source of potential danger by INS/Immigration.

As regards the H-4 visa, you can do the stamping along with the H-1B visa ( in case your lawyer says you need to get it restamped) or your spouse can go alone for stamping. Please crosscheck with our site the list of documents required for H-4 stamping

I am an H-1B holder and my ex-wife has got her H-4. We divorced and I married again. Can my new wife obtain her H-4 visa, What are the possible problems she can face at the Consulate?

You need to apply for cancellation of your ex-wife's H-4 visa. Your wife can then apply for her H-4 visa. She will not face any problems if the documentation is in place.

I came to the US on an H-4 visa and applied for H-1B through Company A. The company did not hire me because of difficult times. Within a month of getting the H-1B, I changed jobs and presently hold a visa sponsored by Company B. Now if I want to get my visa stamped what should I do?

You can get the visa stamped in the US with the State Department or you can get your visa stamped when you visit India.

I have got my H-4 visa stamped but the name in my passport is my maiden name. Is it necessary to change my name in the passport?

You need not make any changes, as long as your H-4 is stamped in your passport

Please ensure that you have your marriage certificate, photos, videos etc when you enter the US, since immigration is very finicky these days

Thanks for maintaining an informative web site. I had a civil (i.e. registered) marriage. Will the marriage certificate suffice for H-4 stamping? Do I still need to produce wedding pictures and invitation cards?

Theoretically, the civil marriage certificate is enough. But the US Consulate in India does not trust State Government bodies issuing certificates. So it asks for supporting documentation like wedding pictures, videos, invitation letters etc.

If I have to go to the US shouldn't I get my H-4 stamped, as I am not sure about my H1.

We recommend that you enter the US on an H-4 visa. You could ask your husband to seek the services of a lawyer to check whether your employer has applied for cancellation of H-1B visa. If your employer has been an Indian / desi Consulting Company, I am sure it would not spend money on cancellation fee. If the H-1B has been cancelled, you have no choice but to enter the US on an H-4 or find a new H-1B sponsor.

Can you please tell me what are the documents I need to submit for getting the H-4 stamped? I am in India and had applied for an H-1B. My sponsor says that my H-1B was canceled, but the stamping in the passport shows that the visa is valid up to March 2002.

If your employer says that the visa was cancelled, it is unsafe to enter the US on the same visa.

I am an H-1B holder. My spouse and children accompanied me to the US on an H-4. Now, my daughter has got a modeling assignment. As per US laws, the money must be deposited in the name of the child. My daughter is 10-months-old. In this case should we go ahead? Can she have a bank account without a valid social security number? She does have an ITIN number.

You can get a valid SSN number for your daughter based on her H-4 visa. It is, however, illegal for a person to work on an H-4 visa. There are however loopholes in the law. Please consult an immigration lawyer for further help.

I did my B.Com, got married and went to the States. As I was interested in web designing, I did a short-term course at a community college. Is it possible for me to convert H-1B to H-4 and work as a web designer? How much time will this take?

One cannot convert an H-4 visa to an H-1B visa. You must find an employer who must be willing to sponsor you for an H-1B visa. At the moment on account of the slowdown and the dotcom crash, it is difficult for web designers from India to get jobs in the US. Hence, you may have to wait for some time.

I am in the US on an H-1B visa. My visa was initially sponsored by Company A. The company could not call me to the US and I went to the US on Company B's visa after getting it duly stamped. The US Consulate cancelled the visa sponsored by Company A. When I went for stamping Company A's visa, my spouse got the H-4 visa stamped. Can she come to the US on Company A's visa or should she get the visa restamped.

It is not legal for your wife to enter the US on the H-4 visa of Company A. Please ask your wife to go for restamping, using your visa approval and stamping for Company B.

Your site is very helpful on immigration issues. My wife is going to the US on an H-IB visa. I will be accompanying her on an H-4 visa. After going to the US, can I work or study on an H-4 without changing my status.


You can study and if you need to do part time work while studying you need to transfer your visa to F-1 If you want to work full time, you will have apply for H-IB before you get a job.

I am currently on an H-1B visa. I arrived in the US on optional practical training status. Soon, l am to get my H-1B. I want to bring my wife to he US on H-4. Is it possible to get her on an H-4 without getting the H-IB stamped?

You can get your visa stamped in the US or use the Canada / Mexico option. The US Consulate takes a dim view of notional stampings and transfers. Please also check with your lawyers in this matter.

I am caught in a peculiar situation. I went to the US on an H-1B visa. My wife accompanied me on an H-4. Later, I switched jobs. The new company has applied for my H-1B. But it did not apply for my wife's visa, assuming she would get her visa stamped from the Consulate or later when my H-1B gets approved. My H-1B expired yesterday. As the validity of the H-4 visa is dependent on the H-1B visa, is my spouse out of status. What should we do now?

Our feedback is based on our past experience.

Your visa is under process for transfer. Under the new H-1B law, you can begin to work for the new employer. Your employer will not apply for your wife's H-4 visa. She has to apply for H-4 transfer, after your visa transfer has been approved.

Now that her H-4 has expired, she can stay on till the INS takes a decision on your H-1B. To be on the safe side, she can apply for an extension based on your previous visa. This can be tricky.

Please crosscheck with your lawyer on this, as various INS Centers are known interpret H-4 laws according to their convenience.

I have a doubt regarding H4 visas. My wife is going to accompany me to the US on an H-4 visa. If she wants to adjust her status to H-1B later, are there any restrictions? How soon will she be able to change status? Will she have to wait for any minimum period before adjusting her status?

There are no restrictions on change of status. Your wife can change her visa status, as soon as she gets she gets a job and her visa gets processed. These days it takes between 8 and 12 weeks for H-1B processing.

I have a question. I got married in January and returned to the US. My wife is still in India. My H-IB visa is expiring on 1st May 2001. Meanwhile I have changed my company and it has applied for my new H-IB. I am expecting the visa to come through in the second week of May. Right now, my passport shows the old H-IB visa stamp that is valid till May 2001. Can my wife go for stamping to the Chennai Consulate with the new H-IB approval and the old visa stamped passport copies. I shall be very grateful if you can clarify my question and suggest what is right for us.

We recommend that your wife go for H-4 stamping after the new H-IB is approved. Please send her copies of the old visa and the new visa approval documents. In case you decide to get the transferred H-1B stamped in your passport, please send her the same too.

We would also recommend that you talk to your company lawyer before you take any step. Immigration at various entry points to US tend to interpret law differently in a complex situation.

I would like to know how long it takes for an adjustment of status from H-4 to H-1B.

Normally, it takes between six and eight weeks

Can I volunteer to work in a library/community center on H-4 visa?

According to the INS stipulations, aliens on H-4 visa cannot work for financial remuneration. They are, however, no constrains on pursuing social work or volunteering for community service, provided you are not receiving a salary.

I am married and have a daughter and a stepson. Can I acquire an H-4 visa for my stepson, on the grounds that he lives with me and is a dependent?

If your stepson is below 21 years of age and his birth certificate has your wife's name, you will be able to obtain an H-4 visa for him. It is imperative that you and your wife have a marriage certificate.

At times the US Consulate, may ask for relevant documents on the divorce case. If your wife has had a divorce earlier, please take the documents when you go for stamping. The Consulate may ask for papers which permits your wife to have custody of her stepson. If your wife's previous husband has passed away, the Consulate may ask for his death certificate.

Please do not misinterpret the last piece of advice as interference in your personal affairs.

I want to say congratulations for such a great web site. It's been extremely helpful to me. I have a question for you. I'll be getting my H-1B visa next December in Mexico. I'd like to get the H-4 visa for my husband. But since this is the first time I will be going for H-1B stamping, will there be any problems if I request for both visas at the same time. I'll appreciate your valuable information.

The spouse of an H-1B holder is automatically eligible for a visa. No separate applications need to be filed with the INS for H-4 visa. Your spouse can go the Consulate with the necessary documents and passport and get the visa stamped, within a day or two after the Consular officer has stamped your H-1B visa. I would recommend that you read the article What, where, when and how of H-4 visas on the assureconsulting.com site.

A US company has filed for my H-1B papers. I am getting married on 17th December, 2000 and I would like my wife to accompany me to the US on the H-4 visa. Can you let me know where can I download the relevant forms?

You can get the H-4 form from the US Consulate or you can use the links provided on the Assureconsulting.com site.

The H-4 form is similar to the form which you will be using for the H-1B visa. Please go through the requirements for H-4 visa given on our site.

I stumbled onto your web site while searching for information on H-4 visas. When I apply for the H-1B, do I need to file some other documents, if I intend to invite my spouse later to the States?

You need not file any documentation for your wife's H4 or dependant visas while applying for the H-1B visa. You need show proof of marriage only when both of you go for stamping after the H-1B visa has been approved. H-4 visas are automatic and the US Consulate issues the visas in no time.

My spouse’s passport has been issued on her maiden name. Under the spouse name column of Form 156, what name should I write - the maiden name or my wife’s married name.

Your wife need not change her name in passport. Marriage, according to US laws, does not require the wife to change her maiden name. She can retain her maiden name and still be considered married, provided the marriage certificate and other documents are available.

I've got my H-1B approval letter from my US employer. Now I want to get my visa stamped at the Chennai Consulate. I've the following queries:

First, is the ICICI bank draft valid for paying the application and issuance fees?

Second, is it essential to pay Rs 150 by draft to TT Service for sending the document or is this service optional?

Three, I got married after I applied for my H-1B visa. Now to apply for the spouse visa, will a marriage certificate from the church suffice or do I need to get my marriage registered with the Registrar for Marriages?

Four, to apply for the H4 visa, is it necessary that my wife appear in person at the US Consulate? Can I send the documents through post?

Five, if I go to the US on H-1B immediately, can my wife get the H4 without me coming down to India?

As this is a rather long query, I would prefer to answer it in point format.

First, ICICI bank drafts are valid for paying the visa fees

Second, you have to pay Rs 150 to TT Services.

Three, is it advisable to have a formal marriage certificate in addition to the certificate from your church

Four, your wife has to go to the Consulate either with you or later for her H4 visa.

Five, your wife can go the Consulate separately to get her visa. But she needs to carry the documents mentioned in the article Documents for Stamping at the Assureconsulting.com site. For any further clarifications, contact me at 5536784.

I am a H-1B visa holder. I am the only one child. My father is no more and my mother is solely dependent on me. My mother is, currently, residing in India. Can she come to the US on the H-4 and stay with me as long as I am here.

I understand your anxiety. But, I am sorry to say, dependant visas are not available for parents. However, if you can hire a good lawyer to represent your case in front of the INS, there is a faint chance of your mother getting her visa. Otherwise, she will have to visit the US on a tourist visa.

I am a H-1B visa holder and will be getting married soon. Immediately after the marriage, can my spouse can go to the Consulate office for H-4 visa stamping? I have been informed that one can go for stamping only a month after marriage. Please advise.

It would be better to get your visa stamped first. After a month, your wife could go for stamping. This will help you to avoid unnecessary questions from the Consulate.

Can an H-4 visa holder living in the US work for an Indian employer via Internet? Can he use this experience while transferring to H-1B?

To acquire an H-1B visa, all work experience must be live work experience. Work over the Internet is not considered live experience as defined by the H-1B application process.

In addition, it is against immigration rules to work in any form or manner on an H-4 visa. The immigration rules clearly state that H-$ holders can only do voluntary work.

I am a regular reader of www.assureconsulting.com and would like your advice. Currently, I am in the US on an H-4 visa. I applied for an H-1B in January 2001. In the next few days, my visa approval is expected to come through. I need to visit India, but my lawyer forbids me to do so, as my H-1B approval is awaited.

Please can you let me know whether the appropriate time to travel to India is: During the H-4 to H-1B conversion or after getting the H-1B approval and before getting the SSN number, or after getting the SSN number, or after stamping H-1B visa stamped on my passport. Can I go to India and get the H-1B visa, even if I have not started working? What are the chances of the US Consulate rejecting my H-1B visa in India? How do I get the H-1 visa stamped on my passport in the US?

Thank-you for visiting assureconsulting.com regularly. Your travel to India on H-4 and the H-1B application are two different issues. I fail to understand why your attorney is clubbing them. You can travel to India and get back on an H-4 visa. Please do not go for stamping in India. After coming back on an H-4 visa, you can commence work based on the status of your H-1B approval. The next time you visit India, you can get the visa stamped.

I have a question on H-4 visas. When an H-1B holder travels for a short period to his native country, can his spouse stay in the US during this period? Is it legal to do so?

Yes you can remain in the US and it’s not illegal to do so.

I am now in US and I am married. My wife is in India and has to stamp the H-4 visa. She has the photocopies of all the documents. Is any original document is needed?

Apart from the original approval notice, letter from the spouse's employer verifying employment offer and the affidavit of support that has been signed by the spouse (I -134) no other documents are needed in original. For further information read: What where when and how of H-4 visa

I have gone through the article When Where Why and How of H-4 visas. I found it very informative. However, I need certain clarifications.

You have mentioned that the applicant needs to sign an affidavit of support. Where should I apply for the affidavit? What should be the content of the affidavit? When one has all other requisite documents, is it necessary to apply for an affidavit.

The affidavit of support is your employment letter or the offer letter from the company that sponsored your H-1B visa.

I have two sons and I need to apply for their visas. Does one have to shell the fee amount, i.e. Rs 2,115 (application fee) and Rs 3,225 (issuance fee), for every individual mentioned in the application form, or does the amount have to be paid for the application form wherein any number of applicants can be listed

The fee mentioned is per person. Please visit the US Consulate site to find the fee prevailing on that date. The web address is provided in the Useful Links column of www.assureconsulting.com.

My spouse has applied for her passport, but she has not received it as yet. Therefore, she may not be able to go for visa stamping immediately. Besides, I am planning to shift my family to the US after six months. If I get the H-4 visa stamped now, what would be the validation period? If my spouse goes for stamping after six months, will a xerox copy of my H-1B visa and related documents be accepted by the Consulate, as the originals will be with me in the US?

You can shift your wife and children the US after six months.

Thank you for the prompt reply to my queries. But I need some clarifications. In your reply you have overlooked mentioning the validation period for the family H-4 visa (wife and children). If I go for H-4 visa stamping right now, will its duration be the same as that of my H-1B visa? It is very important for me to know whether the Consulate will accept xerox copies of the documents needed for H-4 visa stamping. The reason for this query is that the originals will be with me, when my wife goes for H-4 visa stamping after six month of my departure.

The H-4 visa is valid for the same duration as the H-1B visa, regardless of the date on which it as been issued. Your spouse can go for stamping any time during the three-year period for which your visa is valid. The Consulate will accept attested xerox copies of the H-1B visa stamp on your passport. All other documents must be submitted in their original form. You need only your passport with the stamped H-1B to live and work in the US, after you have entered the country.

I understand that if you are in status when your H-1B is approved, you don't need to go back to your home country to get the visa stamped. Since one does not have the visa stamp, how does one’s spouse come to the US? Are there any special provisions, apart from the ones you've listed in the article on H-4?

Please get your visa stamped and send a copy of your H-1B petition and stamped H-1B visa to your spouse. The copies should be attested by an attorney. Your spouse can then go to the nearest US Consulate and get the H-4 visa stamped.

Can I volunteer to work in a library/community center on H-4 visa?

According to the INS stipulations, aliens on H-4 visa cannot work for financial remuneration. They are, however, no constrains on pursuing social work or volunteering for community service, provided you are not receiving a salary.


(Disclaimer: We claim no responsibility for the accuracy of the information. Application of the law can vary drastically according to the facts of a particular case, judge or State in USA. The FAQs are not meant to be specific legal advice. The answers must be viewed as general information and are no substitute for the services of a lawyer.)

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