The H4 visa is a dependent visa issued to dependent spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 of H1B visa holders. As an H4 visa holder, you are allowed to live in the United States along with your H1B visa holder spouse and enjoy certain privileges, such as obtaining a driver’s license, opening a bank account, and studying in the United States.
However, one question that often troubles people is whether they can apply for an H4 visa before marriage. In this blog post, we will explore this question in detail and provide you with all the information you need to know about H4 visas, including their requirements, documents needed, processing time, and interview questions.
When Can My Spouse Apply for H-4?
If you are currently in the United States on a non-immigrant status such as F1, J1 or B1/B2, your spouse can apply for an H-4 visa at any time. However, if you are outside the United States, your spouse can only apply for an H-4 visa once you have been approved for an H1B visa and your petition has been processed by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Do You Have to Be Married to Get an H4 Visa?
Yes, to be eligible for an H4 visa, you must be the spouse (husband or wife) of an H1B visa holder. If you are not married to an H1B visa holder, you cannot apply for an H4 visa.
H4 Visa Requirements
To apply for an H4 visa, you must meet the following requirements:
- Be the spouse of an H1B visa holder
- Be able to prove that your H1B visa holder spouse is maintaining their H1B visa status
- Have a valid marriage certificate
- Obtain Form I-129 from your H1B visa holder spouse’s employer
- Fill out Form DS-160 and pay the visa fee
- Schedule an H4 visa appointment at the United States embassy or consulate in your home country or your current country of residence
- Attend the H4 visa interview
Documents Required for H4 Visa Interview
When attending the H4 visa interview, you will need to provide the following documents:
- A valid passport
- A copy of your marriage certificate
- Your H1B spouse’s visa approval notice
- Your H1B spouse’s recent pay stubs
- Your H1B spouse’s employment verification letter
- Your H4 visa appointment confirmation page
- Your completed Form DS-160 confirmation page
- 2 passport-sized photos
H4 Visa Processing Time
The processing time for an H4 visa varies depending on the consulate or embassy you apply at. It typically takes between 2-4 weeks to process an H4 visa, but it may take longer if your application is subject to administrative processing.
Applying for H4 Visa While in the USA
If you are already in the United States on a non-immigrant visa such as F1 or J1, you can apply for an H4 visa by filing Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, with the USCIS.
H4 Visa Interview Questions
During the H4 visa interview, the consular officer may ask you questions about your relationship with your H1B visa holder spouse, your reasons for wanting to go to the United States, and your future plans. Some typical questions you may be asked include:
- What is your spouse’s name?
- How long have you been married?
- Why is your spouse going to the United States?
- What do you plan on doing in the United States?
- How do you plan on supporting yourself in the United States?
In conclusion, you cannot apply for an H4 visa before marriage as the H4 visa is a dependent visa issued only to the spouses of H1B visa holders. However, once you are married to an H1B visa holder, you can apply for an H4 visa and enjoy the benefits it offers. Remember to carefully review the H4 visa requirements and have all the necessary documents when attending the H4 visa interview to improve your chances of getting approved. Best of luck with your H4 visa application!