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H-4 Visa Questions

The H-4 visa falls under the non-immigrant visa category and is given to dependant spouses and children of principal H visa holders seeking to enter the United States. H-4 visa holders can enter the country together with their spouse or join him/her at a later date. They can enroll in any U.S. university, do not have to maintain a foreign residence, and can freely travel in and out of the country or stay in the U.S. without leaving, as long as they maintain their status.

Listed below are a few questions answered by the immigration lawyers on H-4 visa related issues.

I have an H-4 visa and my wife is on a H1-b visa. Based on our I-485 application to change status, we just received our EAD and travel documents. If I use my EAD to start working, can I lose my H-4 status? Also, will my using of the EAD affect my wife’s status in any way?

You could stand to lose your H-4 status if you use your EAD. However, you could regain it if you leave the country and re-enter using an H-4 visa and lose the position or require the H-4 status for some reason. Your wife’s status will not be affected by you using your EAD.

I have an H-4 visa that is valid until the end of February. If I enter the U.S. in January, am I eligible to file an I-539 application before my visa expires or is this subject to a 60-day rule?

This visa only controls an individual’s entry into the U.S. As long as you enter the country before the visa expires that’s all that should matter. If the I-94, given upon entry, expires soon after the individual enters the country, an I-539 needs to be filed to extend it. This will then be dependent on the H-1B of the spouse or the parent of the H-4 visa holder.

I have an H-4 visa and have got a job offer to work with an international organization. My new employer wants me to apply for a G-4 visa by leaving the country. How will this affect my H-4 visa?

You will probably just be issued a G-4 visa by the U.S. consul which you can use to enter the U.S. Your H-4 visa may or may not be cancelled but it shouldn’t affect anything. It is possible for you to have two different visas in your passport at the same time.

I am a physician with an H1-B visa in the United States. My wife has an H-4 visa and I want to know if she can become involved in a business here in the U.S. or at least invest capital while she is here.

If she holds an H-4 visa, she cannot be employed. She would be allowed to make a passive investment in a business but would not be allowed to participate in any of the inner workings or day-to-day operations of the business. In fact, even her name appearing on a business savings account could look like too much involvement in the business activities. The best thing would be for her to invest capital and then wait for the dividends to come in.

As an H-4 visa holder’s status depends on the principal H visa holder, he/she will lose the H-4 visa once the main H visa holder loses his/her status. Also, the principal H visa holder has to support the H-4 visa holder as the U.S. government does not allow H-4 visa holders to gain employment in the country. H-4 visa holders can also apply for an extension of stay and it can be granted as long as the principal H visa holder maintains his/her status.
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