Skip to main content | Skip to main navigation

       
  leftbg

News:

FSIS website under construction
Starting September 20, 2013, we'll be making changes to the format of our website. We ask for your patience as this may be a lengthy process. Contact Signe at signen@hawaii.edu if you have problems with website functionality or navigation.

New I-94 procedure
From April 30, 2013, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will begin implementing a paperless I-94 procedure at U.S. air and sea ports of entry.

EB immigrant visa availability
U.S. Department of State's monthly Visa Bulletin


H-4 Dependents



H-4 eligibility

Obtaining H-4 status

H-4 extensions

Employment prohibited for H-4 dependents

Study permitted for H-4 dependents



H-4 eligibility [top]

Unmarried children under 21 years of age and spouses of H-1B employees are eligible for H-4 dependent status. Once an unmarried H-4 child turns 21, he/she can no longer remain in H-4 status. In order to remain in the U.S., he/she must change to another nonimmigrant visa status (e.g. F-1 student, B-2 visitor).



Obtaining H-4 status [top]

Dependents have 2 options for initially obtaining H-4 status:

OPTION 1: Enter the U.S. in H-4 status

H-4 dependents do not need to file any prior applications before applying for H-4 visas or applying for entry at a U.S. port of entry. Instead, they should present the H-1B approval notice and evidence of their family relationship to apply for their visas (if necessary) and to enter the U.S. in H-4 status.

Dependents should review the H-4 entry procedures for more details on obtaining H-4 status by entering the U.S. from abroad.

After H-4 dependents arrive in the U.S., UH departments should send copies of the following documents to FSIS so we can update our records and check that they were properly admitted to the U.S.:

  • Copies of each dependent’s passport biodata/expiration page
  • Copies of both sides of each H-4 dependent’s I-94 card or I-94 printout from CBP's I-94 website
  • Copies of each dependent's admission stamp with notations in passport
  • Copies of each dependent’s H-4 visa in passport (if applicable)


OPTION 2: Apply for a change of status to H-4 while in the U.S.

If UH is filing a petition for a change of status to H-1B on behalf of an employee, departments should be sure to ask the employee about his/her dependent family members in case they need to change to H-4 status. Dependents must file Form I-539 to change their status to H-4.
 
If dependents need to change their status to H-4, Form I-539 should be concurrently filed with the employee's H-1B change of status petition. After the dependents complete the I-539, they should attach the required items and send the entire packet to the UH department so it can be submitted to FSIS with the H-1B request. See the H-4 change of status procedures for more details.

If the spouse and/or children is/are currently outside the U.S. and will enter the U.S. in H-4 status, he/she/they do not need to file Form I-539. Instead, they should review
the H-4 entry procedures for more details on obtaining H-4 status by entering the U.S. from abroad.



H-4 extensions [top]

Dependents have 2 options for extending their H-4 status:

OPTION 1: Reenter the U.S. in H-4 status

If dependents are outside the U.S. when their H-4 approval expires, they can reenter the U.S. with the necessary documents to obtain a longer H-4 period.
Dependents should review the procedures for H-4 extensions by reentering the U.S. for more details on visa application and entry procedures.

After H-4 dependents reenter the U.S., please send copies of the following documents to FSIS so we can update our records and check that they were properly admitted to the U.S.:

  • Copies of each H-4 dependent’s passport biodata/expiration page (if passport is new/renewed)
  • Copies of both sides of each H-4 dependent’s I-94 card or I-94 printout from CBP's I-94 website
  • Copies of each dependent's admission stamp with notations in passport
  • Copies of each dependent’s H-4 visa in passport (if applicable)


OPTION 2: Apply for a H-4 extension while in the U.S.

Alternatively, dependents can file Form I-539 concurrently with the H-1B extension petition to apply for H-4 extensions without leaving the U.S. H-4 dependents filing Form I-539 can request the same extension period being requested on the H-1B extension petition. Once the dependents complete the I-539, they should send it with all required supporting documents to the UH department so it can be submitted to FSIS with the H-1B request.

Dependents should review the procedures for filing H-4 extension applications in the U.S. for more details.

If the spouse and/or children is/are currently outside the U.S. and will enter the U.S. in H-4 status, he/she/they do not need to file Form I-539.
Instead, they should review the procedures for H-4 extensions by reentering the U.S. for more details on obtaining H-4 status by entering the U.S. from abroad.



Employment prohibited for H-4 dependents [top]

H-4 status-holders are not eligible for employment. An H-4 dependent may change to another immigration status that permits employment if he/she qualifies for such status.



Study permitted for H-4 dependents [top]

H-4 dependents may study in the U.S. on either a full or part time basis. However, the duration of their study depends on the H-1B’s period of stay. While H-4 dependents are not required to take a full course of study like F-1 students, H-4s are ineligible for F-1 benefits such as on-campus employment and practical training.


rightbg