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H1B Working Visa

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The H-1B visa provides a work status for aliens with the equivalent of a Bachelor's degree who are working in a field which requires such a degree. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) term these to be a "specialty occupations."

In order to evidence that the alien may be qualified for a specialty occupation, it is necessary to submit evidence of his/her Bachelor's Degree or the equivalent thereof. If the alien received all of his degrees overseas, it may be necessary to obtain a professional evaluation of that degree which evidences that Beneficiary's overseas diploma is the equivalent of a U.S. Bachelor's degree. This is not necessary if the alien has a Bachelor's or Master's degree from an accredited U.S. school.

For graduates of foreign medical schools, including those in Canada, who will have clinical responsibilities, it is also required that the candidate pass all three parts of the USMLE or both parts of FLEX and be competent in English. These additional qualifications, however, are not required for those physicians interested in positions involving teaching or research with only incidental patient care. Unlike the J-1, the H-1B is not subject to the requirement to return to the home country for two years. The H-1B does require a U.S. petitioner (employer).

To evidence that the job is a "specialty occupation," an in-depth description of the technical/professional nature of the job responsibilities must be provided. The job description is developed through information gained from the employer and alien as well as other sources. It is important to have a detailed description including the complexities involved in this position.

In some cases it may also be necessary to show the employer is financially viable by submitting strong documentation such as:

• Corporate Brochures;
• Annual Reports;
• Tax Returns; and
• Payroll Records.
• While these items are not necessary to the petition, they may make an impact on the USCIS and result in quicker approvals.

An H-1B petition may be approved for a three-year period and may be extended for a total of six years. However, if an employment-based petition (Form I-140) or labor certification has been pending for one year at the end of the sixth year, additional extensions in one year increments may be available. An alien may only work for the employer, but an alien may have multiple petitions approved allowing simultaneous employment by each petitioner.

Spouse and unmarried children under 21 of an 'H' visa holder are eligible to get H-4 visas to live in US. These visas are usually issued at the local US consulate office of your home country. However, if you are already in US, you can obtain H-4 visa by filing Form I-539 for change of status.

H-4 visa holders are not allowed to take up employment in US and not eligible to get a Social Security Number. But, you can get drivers license and open bank account(s) and also, you can get ITIN for IRS Tax purpose.


The only known qualification is, you must be either spouse or unmarried children under 21 of H-1A / H-1B / H-2A / H-2B/ H-3 visa holder.


An H-4 visa applicant must be an immediate family member of an H-1B, H-2A, H-2B, or H-3 visa holder. Immediate family members include spouse and children under the age of 21.

Duration of Visa:

An H-4 visa holder is admitted to the U.S. for the duration of the supporting family member's H-1B, H-2A, H-2B, or H-3 visa.

Documents Required for H4

• I-797 form (your H 1B approval notice)
• Letter of employment from the company you work for with salary
• A Letter addressing Consulate in favor of your spouse visa
• Copy of relevant pages of passport: Notarized (Make sure that you have the copy of the page with current valid visa.)
• Copy of the Marriage certificate: Notarized, if marriage certificate is not in English get it translated to English and get it Notarized.
• Bank statement [proof of money for supporting your spouse]
• A couple of your paychecks would be a plus.
• Original passport of spouse (Madras consulate is asking for color copy of the passport)
• Few marriage photographs and a marriage invitation card.
• Few Company photographs (1 photo of the building from outside and others inside the building preferably office rooms and/or cubicles with computers etc.)

Unless required, it is better not to provide original documents since they will likely never be returned, though the applicant should have the originals if the Consular official requests to review them at the interview.