How To Apply For An H4 Dependent Visa – In 8 Simple Steps
An H4 Visa – is issued by the US government to dependent family members of H1B visa holders so that they may accompany the H1B visa holder in the U.S. during their period of stay. It only covers spouses and children (under 21 years of age) and not parents or siblings.
Here are 8 steps to take to get an H4 visa for your family.
Determine your visa status
Are you are an H1B visa holder in the United States?
If you’re a legal non-immigrant employee in the US, you can apply for an H4 visa for your children and spouse so they can join you until your H1B Visa expires. Take note that the H4 visa can be applied for any time after your H1B visa is approved.
If you are not an H1B visa holder yet and are just about to apply, you can also apply for your family’s H4 visa at the same time to simplify the process.
Get Visa Application Photographs (if applicable)
A digital photograph is required when applying for a US visa. Most studios can take the picture for you if you mention that it is for a US Visa. Certain embassies/consulates however, no longer require you an uploaded digital photograph while filling out the DS-160 form. In such cases, the photograph will taken at the OFC (offsite facilitation center) or VAC (Visa Application Center) together with the fingerprinting requirement.
Fill up DS-160 form online
Pay the necessary Visa Fee
Every US visa application has a corresponding fee and as of June 2017, the fee for an H4 dependent visa is $190.
Before paying for the fee, you must get a US visa fee collection slip, on line from your online application profile at the US Visa appointment portal. You must bring this completed fee collection slip to the bank when you pay your fee. After receiving your payment, the bank will give you a receipt. This receipt number will be required to setup your visa interview online.
Prepare all required documents
You will need to prepare the following documents:
- A copy of your (the H1B applicant’s) current and Valid passport
- Your spouse’s current and valid passport
- Photographs of you and your spouse
- The confirmation page of the DS-160 form with CEAC bar code
- Visa Fees receipt from any of the accredited banks
- Copy of your appointment letter from your employer sponsoring your H1B visa
- Copy of your form I-797 (approving your H1B application)
- A letter from your employer
- Copies of your payslips from your employer
- Your original marriage certificate
- Your wedding album
- The original birth certificates of your children
Schedule your Visa Application Interview & biometric scanning
A visa interview appointment is required to get an H4 visa. You will need to schedule 2 separate appointments. The first is for Biometric data gathering – scanning of fingerprints & taking digital photographs at your nearest Visa Application Center (VAC). The second appointment is for the US visa interview at the desginated U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
The two appointments can not be scheduled on the same day and so the 1st one must be done at least one day before the interview appointment date. You can schedule both appointments online at http://www.ustraveldocs.com or make further inquiries by calling your country’s US embassy or consulate.
Arrive at the designated VAC on the day of your biometric data gathering appointment for fingerprinting and photographs. Please make sure you have all the relevant documents needed with you.
Arrive at the US embassy or consulate where your interview is scheduled.
Expect to stand in a line outside since only visa applicants may enter. You may need to show your original passport, appointment letter, and US visa fee receipt to the security staff. After this you will be given a number for your visa interview. An officer will then take your fingerprints to verify those taken at the VAC center. Once your number is called, You will then proceed to the interview. You will be asked questions and verify your documents.
If your application is approved, they will inform you immediately that “Your visa is approved” and your passport will be mailed back to you in a few days. If your visa is denied, you will also be informed and You will be able to pick up your passport soon after the interview.