What to Know When You Have Dependents Under Your H-1B Visa

H-1B visas are in high demand for multiple reasons, but one of the main benefits is that spouses and children can travel with the H-1B beneficiary. Children must have birth certificates proving their relationship to the beneficiary, be under 21 years old, and remain unmarried to be considered dependent. Each individual is provided with a separate document showing their legal right to live in the US under an H-4 nonimmigrant status. The H-4 status lasts the same duration as the H-1B holder’s visa is valid, but it doesn’t provide the same benefits. When you have H-4 holders in your home, here are a few things you should know about the terms of their status.

Work and School

School-aged children aren’t provided with a social security number but have the right to receive an education. Once your H-4 children graduate high school, they can attend college without changing their status and can study full- or part-time. H-4 dependents aren’t eligible for on-campus employment and practical training. These benefits are reserved for F-1 visa holders.

Children lose dependency status when they “age out” at 21 years old or get married. Spouses and non-dependent children who want to attend college can transfer to F-1 status. This visa status requires holders to have a full-time enrollment course load, but it comes with the benefits mentioned previously. Additionally, under an F-1, students can remain in the US after their H-1B beneficiary’s visa ends.

H-4 spouses can work if they have an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and are seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident status. They must apply to USCIS for an EAD. This takes the place of the social security number typically required by employers to hire an employee. Students attending school full-time are ineligible for employment under the H-4 status.


When you’re a visa holder, leaving and re-entering borders is often a challenge. You must go through questioning by a customs officer, even if you have all your documentation. As an H-4 holder, you may enter and exit the US at any time within your H-1B beneficiary’s validity period. Always ensure you have proof of that person’s maintenance of status records, such as an I-797 approval notice or updated evidence of continued employment. 

H-4 dependents applying for adjustment of status can continue to use the special rules for travel and re-entry that pertain to H visa holders until the adjustment of status takes effect.

What’s Next?

H-4 dependent visa holders can remain in the US as long as their H-1B beneficiary has a valid document. You’re the main person holding your family together, so keeping your visa valid is crucial. Changes in immigration law may affect your status, whether you know about those changes or not, which is why many H-1B holders work with legal experts like Visa2US.

Changing or extending your status can take USCIS months to process. Your Visa2US immigration experts can guide you throughout your visa journey. With our help, you can be sure that you file your documents timely and reduce any errors that could cause delays that hurt your status and that of your spouse and dependents.

When it comes to something as vital as your H-1B status, don’t take a chance and navigate the legal system alone. Let our friendly professionals at Visa2US guide your immigration path, so you can focus on your new life and career.


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H-1B Visa

H-1B Visa

H-1B visa is used by businesses and organizations in the United States to employ foreign nationals with the preferred qualifications, knowledge, and expertise in a role.

I-485 Adjustment of Status

I-485 Adjustment of Status

Submit a form I-485 application to apply for lawful permanent resident status.

National Interest Waiver (NIW)

National Interest Waiver (NIW)

An applicant must either hold an advanced degree or have an exceptional ability in their field that would substantially benefit the U.S. to be qualified.