Every year thousands of dependent family members of H-1B visa holders travel to USA on H-4 visa. It is a nonimmigrant visa issued by the USA Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for the dependent spouse and children of principal H visa holders. Only an immediate family member under 21 years can apply for this visa.
What are the privileges that an H-4 visa holder can enjoy?
On H-4 visa, you are eligible to:
Young and ambitious professionals married to H-1B holders in USA or have a parent in USA with H-1B status should make use of this opportunity to pursue higher education abroad. However, as an H-4 visa holder, you are not authorized to be employed in the USA or cannot obtain any financial aid like TA, RA or GA funding options of University. Also, you are not eligible for the one-year optional practical training (OPT) after completion of the course year, a great opportunity for F1 visa holders.
If the principal H-1B visa holder can financially support you, you must prepare yourself for two major steps in visa processing – Offsite Facilitation Center (OFC) and Visa Interview. At Visa Application Center, also known as Offsite Facilitation Center, you are required to give the biometrics information that includes fingerprints and photograph. There is no additional fee as your application fees is inclusive of the charges for this procedure. You can schedule an appointment and has to reach the venue fifteen minutes prior to your appointment with the necessary documents.
List of documents that you would need for OFC appointment for H-4 visa:
Once you have completed the procedures at Visa Application Centre, you are expected to visit the USA Embassy or Consulate as per the scheduled date and time for your visa interview. Apart from the documents mentioned above, you must carry a range of supporting documents. These includes a copy of the principal applicant's I-797 and I-129 forms, letter from his/her employer confirming continued employment.
If in doubt, it is ideal to collect as many documents as possible as specified in the list before scheduling the OFC appointment and visa interview.