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H-4: FAMILY MEMBERS OF H-1, H-2 OR H-3 VISA/STATUS HOLDERS

H-4 visa/status is issued to dependents (spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age) of H-1, H-2 or H-3 principal beneficiary.  

H-4 status/visa provides for same restrictions as the principal, however not the same benefits.  

H-4 usually does not permit employment in the U.S., or can not give an opportunity to obtain a Social Security Number, but does permit school attendance and applying for a drivers license.  

However, certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants can obtain employment authorization if the H-1B nonimmigrant (spouse): 

  • Is the principal beneficiary of an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker; or 

  • Has been granted H-1B status under sections 106(a) and (b) of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000 as amended by the 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act (AC21). 

Period of Stay 

An H-4 visa holder is admitted to the U.S. for the duration of the primary (H-1B, H-2A, H-2B, or H-3) visa validity. 

H-4 visa/status is usually issued at the same time it is issued to an H principal beneficiary or the principal H applicant can request this visa/status for his dependents during his H status.