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Employment Authorization for Certain Dependent Spouces H-4


The H-4 visa is issued to the dependent family members of an H-2 visa holder (spouse and children under 21 years) who want to join the H-2 visa holder in the United States.

H-4 Visa Processing Time

The processing times for the H-4 visa are different from country to country. Since your H-4 status is dependent on the status of the H type visa holder so your spouse or parent, it might take as long as it takes to process their visa. If, for example, your spouse is applying for an H-2A visa and you apply together, your visa will take the same time to process as your spouse’s.

What am I Allowed to Do in the U.S With an H-4 Visa?

Apply for a change of status

H-4 visa holders can apply for a change of status. If, for example, you find an employer who is willing to sponsor your visa, you can file for the type of visa in which you qualify. For example, if you get a temporary, non-agricultural job, you can apply for a change of status to an H-2B visa.

Get a Green Card

Also, many H-4 visa holders want to know whether they can apply for a Green Card. The answer, in this case, is yes. Most H type visas are dual intent, which means that you can have a non-immigrant and immigrant status. However, if you apply for a Green Card from an H4 visa, it might take too long for your priority dates to become current. You might have to wait for years until your Green Card is approved.

A better way to go about getting a Green Card is to change status to an H-2 visa and then apply for the Green Card.Your Green Card might be processed faster and you won’t have to wait too long.


You can enroll in academic courses or programs. You will have the same opportunities as a student on an F-1 visa. However, if you get accepted to an academic program in the U.S as an F-1 student, then you could get the F-1 visa, instead of the H-4.

Open a Bank account for H-4 visa holders

You can open your own bank account like any other immigrant or citizen of the U.S with any banking institution. The procedure is easy and you can open it by providing your passport and local ID card.

Get a driver’s license

H-4 visa holders can apply for a driver’s license in the U.S. If they pass the necessary driver’s tests, they get the right to drive.

© Navy Financial 2021