Start typing and hit "Enter" to search.

How to apply for an H-4 Specialty Work Visa for the United States

On this page, we will explain who qualifies for the H-4 visa scheme in the United States, the requirements which must be met, and the application process. For expert assistance with your immigration matter, contact Reiss Edwards, immigration lawyers, and solicitors in London, on 020 3744 2797 or by email at info@reissedwards.co.uk

Get In Touch


Some of our Happy Clients
  • immigration solicitors near me
  • immigration solicitors near me
  • immigration solicitors near me
  • immigration solicitors near me

With the world’s largest economy, which is estimated to reach over $25 trillion in 2024, the United States has a great deal to offer migrant workers from around the world and their family members. On this page, we will explain who qualifies for the H-4 dependant family member visa scheme in the United States, the requirements which must be met, and the application process.

What Is The H-4 Dependant Family Visa for the United States?

The non-immigrant H-4 work visa is for dependent family members of H-1B, H-1B1, H-2A, H-2B, and H-3 visa holders enabling them to enter the US and stay with the principal visa holder. H-4 visa holders are able to live, enrol in education, apply for a driving license, and open a bank account in the US. Depending on the type of visa held by the principal visa holder, it may be possible for a spouse on an H-4 visa to seek authorization for employment, however, this is not possible in all cases (as we explain later on this page). In addition, unlike other H visas, there is no cap on the number of H-4 visas available.

Who Qualifies for an H-4 Visa in the US?

Only immediate dependant family members (i.e., spouses and children) are eligible for an H-4 visa. In the case of children, dependant means that they must not be financially independent, living an independent life, married, or over 21.

How Do I Apply for an H-4 Visa?

The first stage in applying for an H-4 visa is to complete and submit a DS-160: Nonimmigrant Visa Application. The DS-160 is completed online – the USCIS recommends that you print and retain a copy of the DS-160 barcode page to ease of reference to your application. Once completed, you will need to:

  • Pay the H4 visa application fee – this is currently $190 – we recommend keeping a copy of your receipt and proof of payment.
  • Schedule an interview with your nearest US Embassy or consulate
  • Submit any documents required to support your application – this can be done online
  • Attend the visa interview at your local US Embassy or consulate

Once you have had your interview, a decision will then be made on your case. As the USCIS state, “Consular Officers use the information entered on the DS-160 to process the visa application and, combined with a personal interview, determine an applicant’s eligibility for a non-immigrant visa”. As such, it is essential that the information you provide both in writing and verbally is correct, complete, and accurate.

Which Documents Will I Need to Provide to USCIS To Support My H-4 Application?

Depending on your exact circumstances, you may be asked to provide some or all of the following documents to support your H-4 application:

  • Your passport
  • Your original marriage certificates
  • Birth Certificate
  • Certificate of adoption
  • Evidence to show you can financially support yourself and your family members in the US
  • Evidence of employment from the principal visa holder’s employer (i.e., a letter)
  • A copy of the principal applicant’s H visa

What Will I Be Asked at My H-4 Visa Interview?

The USCIS does not set specific questions which will be asked; hence you can expect to be asked about any aspect of your application. If you are a spouse, the interviewer will likely want to clarify that you have a genuine and subsisting relationship with your partner. They may ask you about how and when you met your spouse, how long you have lived together, and the extent to which you live a shared life. They may also ask about your plans to live together in the US.

How Long Can I Stay in The US On An H-4 Visa?

As an H-4 visa holder, you will be able to remain in the US for the same amount of time as the principal visa holder. As such, the immigration authorities will match the expiry date on your H-4 visa with that of the principal H visa. If they leave the US before their visa is due to expire, you will need to leave or apply for another visa.

Can I Work in The US On An H-4 Visa?

H-4 visa holders can attend school, apply for a US driving license, open a bank account, and in certain cases, dependant spouses can seek employment authorization by completing and filing the required form. Authorization to work in the US is only available to an H-4 dependant spouse of an H1-B visa holder. The USCIS rules state:

“You are eligible if you are the H-4 dependent spouse of an H-1B non-immigrant if your H-1B non-immigrant spouse:

  • Is the principal beneficiary of an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers; or
  • Has been granted H-1B status under sections 106(a) and (b) of the AC21. Under AC21, H-1B non-immigrants seeking employment-based lawful permanent residence may be eligible to work and remain in the United States beyond the six-year H-1B period of admission limitation”.

To apply for work authorization, you will need to complete and submit Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization). It is important that you do not start working before you receive clearance; doing so may breach the terms of your H-4 visa. You will need to wait until you receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD/Form I-766) from USCIS.

Reiss Edwards has the resources and expertise to assist with all aspects of US immigration. If you need assistance with your H-4 Specialty Work visa application for US or any other immigration matter, feel free to contact our Immigration Solicitor for help.

Reiss Edwards Awards

O.L

Andy Tieu is absolutely amazing.

As a lawyer myself I can categorically say that he knows his stuff, gentle, responsive, cares about you and not just about the money, very professional.
I mean I can go on and on!

Andy and the entire team at Reiss Edwards are amazing!

Thanks again Andy.

Kiran Sardar


I found Joe very helpful and tremendous patience which is a must in this professional as there are lots of emotions always involved in each and every case.

The way they dealt with my case during COVID19 Situation is highly appreciable. I would definitely recommend Joe D. and Anna F. Anna is an amazing lady, her patience is beyond my words.

Her hard work and professionalism have no boundaries. She is the right person for all type of cases.

Thanks to Anna and Joe for all your support and guidance which helped me fulfill my dream.

I would say Reiss Edwards is lucky to have Joe D. and Anna F. Great job Reiss Edwards.

thanks once again. Anna you’re a Gem and a Star.

Cheyam Shaked

"Anna Foley was the lawyer helping my partner obtain an EEA EFM visa. She was outstanding. Handling the case with constant correspondence over a lengthy, lockdown delayed 7-month application process. Her expert advice guided us successfully through some difficult times as a result of COVID-19. Some of the best service I have received for any service ever! Often replying to emails late at night, offering to send additional correspondence to the home office and going above and beyond in handling our case! Well done and thank you Reiss Edwards and thank you Anna!!".

Isaac .T

"Professional service. I was very impressed with the fact that my ILR application was successful 6 weeks after the submission amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. I also think the portfolio put together by the team at Reiss Edwards has played a big part in the quick turnaround of my application".

Reiss Edwards Reviews

O.L

"Andy Tieu is absolutely amazing, as a lawyer myself I can categorically say tha...

Read More

Kiran Sardar

"I found Joe very helpful and tremendous patience which is a must in this profes...

Read More

Cheyam Shaked

"Anna Foley was the lawyer helping my partner obtain an EEA EFM visa. She was ou...

Read More

Isaac .T

"Professional service. I was very impressed with the fact that my ILR applicatio...

Read More
Back to Top