H4 to H1B Visa Change of Status

In order for a nonimmigrant to convert H4 to H1B visa status, he or she must follow a series of steps for H4 to H1 change of status.

H4 visa holders are dependents of H1B workers. Although H4 dependents may attend school in the US and even work in the US as per the new H4 EAD rule, there may be other reasons for which these dependents seek H4 to H1B change of status.

Who Can Convert H4 to H1 Visa Status

The first step of the H4 to H1B conversion process is determining if the H4 visa holder is eligible to convert H4 to H1B status. An individual may apply for H4 to H1 change of status if:

  • H4 visa holder had previously applied for H1B and was selected in the H1B lottery and is now therefore exempt from H1B cap.
  • H4 visa holder has a job offer from an H1B cap exempt employer, such as:
    • A not for profit institution of higher education
    • A not for profit entity related or affiliated to an institution of higher education
    • A not for profit organization or a governmental research organization
  • H4 visa holder has an employment offer from an H1B petitioning employer and is selected in the H1B visa lottery.

Required Documents for H4 to H1B Change of Status

To apply for H4 to H1B conversion, the applicant must submit the following documents along with those required for H1B application.

  • Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status
  • Supporting documents such as employment offer, support letter, and labor condition approval, (LCA)

You must also submit all of the documents required for H1B visa. For more information, H1B Documents Required.

Applying for H1B from H4 Visa Status

Any H4 visa holder may convert from H4 to H1B visa status as long as they meet the H1B visa requirements. The H4 visa holder’s sponsoring H1B employer must file his or her H1B petition.

The H1B sponsoring employer will need to submit the following along with Form I-129.

  • Evidence of labor condition application certified by U.S. Department of Labor
  • Evidence showing that proposed employment qualifies as a specialty occupation
  • Evidence that beneficiary has required degree by submitting a copy of degree certificates (U.S. degree or foreign degree), evidence of specialized training/progressively responsible experience
  • A copy of required license or official permission to practice the occupation in the intended state of employment.

The application process for applying for H1B from H4 is the same as applying for H1B from outside the United States, with the only exception that the H4 visa holder must also file Form I-539 to change nonimmigrant status.

For complete details on how to apply for H1B, visit our H1B Visa Guide.