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Can H4 Visa Holder Work in USA? 2023 Updates

H4 Visa holders are spouses and dependents of H1B visa holders who are allowed to live in the United States but are not permitted to work. This can cause significant financial strain for the H4 visa holder and their family. Fortunately, there are certain circumstances under which H4 visa holders can obtain work authorization and legally work in the United States.

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To obtain work authorization, the H1B visa holder must be the principal beneficiary of an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, or have been granted H1B status under sections 106(a) and (b) of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act of 2000. Once the H1B visa holder meets these requirements, the H4 visa holder can file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, to request work authorization.

While H4 visa holders can obtain work authorization, there are certain limitations and challenges they may face. For example, their work authorization is tied to the H1B visa holder’s status, meaning that if the H1B visa holder loses their status, the H4 visa holder will also lose their work authorization. Additionally, H4 visa holders may face difficulties in finding employment due to their temporary status and limited work experience in the United States.

H4 Visa: An Overview

An H4 visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows the spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age of an H1B visa holder to join them in the United States. The H1B visa is a temporary work visa that is issued to foreign nationals who have specialized skills or knowledge in a particular field and are hired by US employers to work in the country.

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H4 visa holders are not authorized to work in the United States unless they are able to obtain an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The H4 visa is issued for the same period as the H1B visa and can be renewed as long as the H1B visa holder maintains their status.

H4 visa holders are allowed to study in the United States, apply for a driver’s license, and open a bank account. However, they are not eligible for a Social Security Number (SSN) unless they have obtained an EAD and are authorized to work in the country.

It is important to note that H4 visa holders are dependent on the H1B visa holder for their legal status in the United States. If the H1B visa holder loses their job or their status, the H4 visa holder’s status may also be affected. In such cases, the H4 visa holder may need to leave the United States and return to their home country.

Overall, the H4 visa is designed to allow the dependent family members of H1B visa holders to join them in the United States. While H4 visa holders are not authorized to work in the country, they may be able to obtain an EAD under certain circumstances.

Work Eligibility for H4 Visa Holders

H4 visa holders are the dependents of H1B visa holders, who are skilled workers employed in the US. H4 visa holders are allowed to stay in the US as long as their H1B spouse maintains their status. However, until recently, H4 visa holders were not allowed to work in the US.

In 2015, the Obama administration introduced a rule that allowed certain H4 visa holders to obtain employment authorization documents (EADs) and work in the US. This rule applied to H4 visa holders whose H1B spouses had an approved I-140 immigrant petition or had been granted an extension of their H1B status beyond the six-year limit due to their pending green card application.

In March 2021, the Biden administration announced that it would not revoke the H4 EAD rule, which means that eligible H4 visa holders can continue to work in the US. This is good news for H4 visa holders who have been struggling to find ways to use their skills and contribute to their families’ financial stability.

To be eligible for an H4 EAD, the H4 visa holder must meet certain criteria, including:

  • Their H1B spouse must have an approved I-140 immigrant petition or have been granted an extension of their H1B status beyond the six-year limit due to their pending green card application.
  • The H4 visa holder must file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, and pay the required fee.
  • The H4 visa holder must wait for their EAD to be approved before they can start working.

It’s important to note that not all H4 visa holders are eligible for an EAD. If the H1B spouse has not yet started the green card process, the H4 visa holder cannot apply for an EAD. Additionally, H4 visa holders who are not eligible for an EAD can still volunteer or attend school in the US.

In conclusion, eligible H4 visa holders can work in the US by obtaining an EAD. The process involves meeting certain criteria and filing an application with the USCIS. With the H4 EAD rule still in place, H4 visa holders have more opportunities to use their skills and contribute to their families’ financial stability.

Conditions for H4 Visa Work Authorization

H4 visa holders are typically spouses and dependent children of H1B visa holders. They are allowed to stay in the United States for the duration of the H1B visa holder’s stay, but they are not automatically allowed to work. However, under certain conditions, H4 visa holders can apply for work authorization in the United States.

H1B Visa Holder Status

One of the conditions for H4 visa holders to apply for work authorization is that their H1B visa holder spouse must have a certain status. Specifically, their spouse must be in the process of obtaining lawful permanent resident status in the United States. This means that their spouse must have an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, or have been granted an extension of their H1B status beyond the six-year limit under the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act (AC21).

Application for Employment Authorization Document

To apply for work authorization, H4 visa holders must file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). They must also pay the required fee and provide supporting documentation, such as evidence of their spouse’s H1B status and their own identity and eligibility to work in the United States.

Once the application is approved, the H4 visa holder will receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), which allows them to work in the United States for a specified period of time. The length of time depends on their spouse’s H1B status and other factors.

It is important to note that not all H4 visa holders are eligible for work authorization. Only those who meet the specific conditions outlined by USCIS can apply. Additionally, the application process can be complex and time-consuming, so it is recommended that H4 visa holders seek the assistance of an experienced immigration attorney to help them navigate the process.

Process to Obtain Work Authorization

Filing Form I-765

H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants can file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, if the H-1B nonimmigrant is the principal beneficiary of an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, or has been granted H-1B status under sections 106(a) and (b) of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000 as amended by the 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act.

To file Form I-765, the spouse of the H-1B worker must prepare the form and submit it with all required evidence to the appropriate USCIS office. The evidence required includes proof of the H-1B nonimmigrant’s approved Form I-140 or H-1B status under sections 106(a) and (b) of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000 as amended by the 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act, and proof of the spousal relationship to the H-1B nonimmigrant.

Waiting Period and Status Updates

After filing Form I-765, the H-4 dependent spouse must wait for the USCIS to process the application and issue an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). The processing time can vary depending on the USCIS workload and other factors. During the waiting period, the USCIS may issue status updates on the application, which can be checked online using the USCIS Case Status Online tool.

Once the USCIS approves the application, the H-4 dependent spouse will receive the EAD, which will allow them to work in the United States for a specified period of time. The EAD will also include information on the employer and the type of work that the H-4 dependent spouse is authorized to perform.

It is important to note that the EAD is not a visa and does not grant the H-4 dependent spouse any immigration status. The H-4 dependent spouse must maintain their H-4 status and comply with all other immigration requirements while working in the United States.

Potential Challenges and Limitations

Work Restrictions

While H-4 visa holders are eligible to work in the US under certain conditions, there are still some restrictions that can limit their employment opportunities. One of the primary restrictions is that H-4 visa holders are only allowed to work for the specific employer that sponsored their H-1B visa. This means that they cannot switch jobs or work for a different employer without first obtaining a new H-1B visa sponsorship from that employer.

Additionally, H-4 visa holders are not allowed to work in certain industries that require a security clearance, such as defense or aerospace. This can limit their job opportunities and career growth potential.

Renewal of Work Authorization

Another potential challenge for H-4 visa holders is the renewal of their work authorization. H-4 visa holders must renew their work authorization every time their H-1B spouse’s visa is renewed. This can be a time-consuming and stressful process, as it requires submitting a new application and waiting for approval from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Furthermore, changes in immigration policy or political climate can also impact the renewal of H-4 visa holders’ work authorization. For example, the Trump administration proposed eliminating the H-4 EAD rule in 2017, which would have revoked the work authorization of thousands of H-4 visa holders. Although the Biden administration has since announced that they will not revoke the H-4 EAD rule, changes in political leadership can still have a significant impact on H-4 visa holders’ ability to work in the US.

Overall, while H-4 visa holders are eligible to work in the US under certain conditions, there are still potential challenges and limitations that can impact their employment opportunities and career growth potential.

Read: EB3 Visa Sponsors Database 2023: The Ultimate Resource for Employment-Based Green Card Seekers

Impact on Tax Status

H-4 visa holders who are authorized to work in the US are required to pay federal, state, and local taxes just like any other worker. However, their tax status may vary depending on their circumstances.

If the H-4 visa holder has an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and earns income, they must file their taxes using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) since they are not eligible for a Social Security Number (SSN). The ITIN is a nine-digit number issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to individuals who are required to file taxes in the US but are not eligible for an SSN.

It is important to note that H-4 visa holders who do not have an EAD and do not earn any income are not required to file taxes in the US. However, if they have any income from investments or rental properties, they may still be required to file taxes.

H-4 visa holders who are married to H-1B visa holders may also be eligible for certain tax benefits. For example, if the H-1B visa holder is the primary earner and the H-4 visa holder has little or no income, they may be able to file their taxes jointly and take advantage of the H-1B visa holder’s tax bracket. This can result in a lower tax liability for the couple.

In addition, H-4 visa holders who have dependent children may be eligible for certain tax credits, such as the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit. These credits can help reduce the amount of taxes owed or result in a refund.

Overall, H-4 visa holders who are authorized to work in the US should be aware of their tax obligations and take advantage of any tax benefits they may be eligible for. It is recommended that they consult with a tax professional to ensure that they are filing their taxes correctly and taking advantage of all available tax credits and deductions.

Conclusion

In conclusion, H-4 visa holders can work in the United States under certain circumstances. The Biden administration has announced that it will not strike the H-4 EAD rule, which allows spouses of H-1B visa holders to work in the US. H-4 visa holders can prepare and submit Form I-765 to request work authorization in certain circumstances.

However, H-4 visas do not allow the holders to work in the US by default. If the spouses and parents of the H-4 visa holders lose their jobs and lose their status, H-4 visa holders will also lose their status in the country. In that case, they need to return to their home countries.

There have been legislative efforts to grant automatic right to H4 visa holders to work in the US. A bill has been introduced for this purpose, which would remove the requirement for visa holders to apply for a Form I-765, an Employment Authorisation Document (EAD).

It is important for H-4 visa holders to understand the requirements and limitations of their visa status. They should consult with an immigration attorney or a qualified legal professional to learn about their options and rights.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the H visa types available for dependents of H1B visa holders?

Dependents of H1B visa holders can apply for H4 visas, which allow them to reside in the USA but do not permit them to work.

How can H1B visa spouses work in the USA?

Spouses of H1B visa holders can apply for an H4 EAD (Employment Authorization Document) to work in the USA. The H4 EAD allows H4 visa holders to work in any field or industry while their H1B spouse is employed in the USA.

What is the validity of H4 EAD?

The validity of the H4 EAD is tied to the validity of the H4 visa. Typically, H4 visas are issued for the same duration as the H1B visa held by the spouse, and the H4 EAD is issued for the same duration as the H4 visa.

What is the latest news on H4 visa in 2023?

As of August 2023, there have been no major changes to the H4 visa program. However, it is important to stay up-to-date with any changes or updates to the H4 visa program.

How can I apply for an H4 visa for my spouse?

To apply for an H4 visa, the H1B visa holder must first file a Form I-129 (Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker) with USCIS. Once the petition is approved, the H4 visa application can be filed with the US consulate or embassy in the spouse’s home country.

Can H4 visa holders obtain a work permit in the USA?

Yes, H4 visa holders can obtain a work permit in the USA by applying for an H4 EAD. However, it is important to note that not all H4 visa holders are eligible for an H4 EAD. Eligibility requirements include having an H1B spouse who is in the process of obtaining permanent residency in the USA or having an H1B spouse who has been granted an extension of their H1B status beyond the six-year limit.

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