H-1B Dependents

Overview

Spouses and children under the age of 21 of H-1B employees are considered dependents and are eligible for H-4 nonimmigrant status. H-4 beneficiaries are only eligible to be in the U.S. in H-4 status while the principal H-1B beneficiary is in the U.S. in valid H-1B status.

Employment

Most H-4 dependents are not authorized to work in the U.S., and are not eligible for a social security number.

There is a limited exception to this rule for certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B visa holders who are in the employment-based permanent residence process. To be eligible, the H-1B principal must either be the beneficiary of an approved I-140 immigrant visa petition, or have been granted a post-sixth-year extension of H-1B status under Section 106 of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act of 2000.

Travel

If traveling outside and re-entering the U.S, H-4 dependents need to ensure that they have a valid passport, a valid H-4 visa stamp, visas, and if applicable, the Form I-797H Approval Notice for a change of status to, or extension of, H-4 status.