Skip to content

H-4: Family of the H-1B

If an H-1B temporary worker has a spouse and/or unmarried children under 21, those family members are eligible to come to the U.S. as H-4 dependents.

Note: Although the spouse and children of H-1B employees usually enter as H-4s, they are not required to do so. They may enter in other visa classifications for which they qualify, such as F-1, J-1, B-2 or H-1B. (Other family members, including partners not legally married to the H-1B, are not eligible for H-4 status but may apply for B-2 visas.) However, ISO cannot provide information about non-UW-sponsored visas.

A family member coming from abroad can obtain an H-4 visa by presenting the following to the U.S. consulate:

  • Copy of the H-1B Approval Notice
  • Proof of family relationship to the H-1B (marriage certificate for spouse and birth certificates for children)

A family member currently residing in the U.S. can obtain or extend H-4 status by filing Form I-539.


See Fees page for more details.

Employment Authorization

Employment is not permitted for persons in H-4 status unless they have a valid Employment Authorization Card. There is no restriction on study for persons in H-4 status. International scholars can be directed to the H-4 page for international scholars.