An H4 visa is issued to dependent family members (spouse and children) of H1 visa holders who would like to accompany the H1B visa holder in the U.S. during their period of stay. This article outlines the complete process for H4 dependent visas for H1B visa holders. In such a case, the principal applicant is always the H1B visa holder. Immediate family members like spouse and children under 21 years old may qualify for an H4 visa and may apply at a US Consulate in their home country.

If you are applying for your visa along with your spouse, who is applying for H1 simultaneously, then you can submit both of your applications together. An H4 visa allows visa holders to:

  • Get a driver's license
  • Pursue education
  • Open bank account(s)
  • Become eligible for an ITIN (Tax ID for IRS Tax purposes)
  • Work in the US

As a result of the new H4 EAD rule, effective May 26, 2015, H4 dependents of H1B visa holders may now work in the US by applying for Employment Authorization. For more information, read about EAD for H4 Dependents.

H4 Visa Tips

Make no mistake in filling out the visa application and understanding the legalities related to the H4 visa. Here are some useful tips for the H4 visa applicants.


  • While providing the information to take visa interview and filing online application form, H4 visa applicants must clearly state their Last Name and Given Name. If your maiden name is different from your name after marriage, please write the name on your passport. In case you have had your name changed, your passport must reflect this. Often there is a lot of confusion caused by name changes after marriage.
  • Also please check if the passport issuing authorities have written your name correctly. Common errors are: writing the name in the Last name field, writing Last name instead of Given Name and vice versa. Applicants should check their passport and if the whole name is given in one line, they should get the same changed from passport office before applying for a visa.) In the nutshell, make sure your name is correctly filled out.
  • It is advisable to get your spouse's name endorsed on your passport beforehand.
  • If after marriage your last name has changed, then it's better to endorse the change in your passport beforehand. Otherwise you will have to continue your maiden name in the U.S. Your maiden name will be used in your identification card and driver's license in the U.S.

Wedding Album

You have to show sufficient evidence that you are married to the principal applicant

  • Please make sure that you carry a fairly descriptive wedding album.
  • This means that your album must have many wedding pictures.
  • You and your groom must be clearly visible in the pictures.
  • All the snaps must be very clear and it should be easy to identify the bride and the bridegroom.
  • It is better to include photographs showing some marriage rituals such as photographs around the Agni ceremony (if your marriage is Hindu marriage), engagement ceremony, photos of your families, etc.

Check your visa

Upon receiving your visa, please check for any errors in typing of:

  • your name
  • your spouse's name
  • date of birth
  • type of visa
  • validity date

The key to getting the H4 visa is doing the right thing at the right time and at the right place. Complete your H4 visa paperwork, understand the process, and be proactive during the application period.

To prepare for applying for your H4 visa, learn about the Documents Required for H4 Visa.