Can I Bring My Family with Me on an H-1B Visa?

Matthew Thomas

The H-1B visa is one of the most sought-after temporary work permits in the United States, and it is specifically intended for foreign nationals with advanced degrees who wish to work in highly specialized fields.

Even while it’s a great chance for qualified professionals to find job in the United States, many candidates are unsure if they may bring their families with them.

This article will discuss the requirements, advantages, and procedures for bringing dependents along on an H-1B visa.

Eligibility for Family Members on H-1B Visa

Before getting into the nitty-gritty of the H-1B visa program, it’s important to know who counts as a family member. In most cases, relatives of the H-1B visa holder’s immediate family are permitted to accompany them to the United States.

  1. Spouse: A legally married husband or wife.
  2. Children: Unmarried children under 21 years of age.

Remember that your parents, siblings, and other relatives are not eligible to join you on your H-1B visa. Others in your family who want to join you may need to look into different visa possibilities if they aren’t your husband or children.

Benefits of Bringing Family Members on H-1B Visa

Bringing your family members on an H-1B visa can have several advantages:

  1. Companionship: Having loved ones nearby might help ease the mental and social strain of adjusting to life in a new place.
  2. Education: Your children can attend American schools, where they will likely benefit from a higher standard of education.
  3. Employment: To legally work in the United States, your spouse may be able to file for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). If you and your partner both work, this may be especially helpful.
  4. Healthcare: Your loved ones can take advantage of the excellent healthcare available in the United States.

Process of Bringing Family Members on H-1B Visa

Having established that you are qualified for and will benefit from an H-1B visa, let’s dive into the steps necessary to sponsor your family members.

1. Petition Filing:

You can begin the process for your dependents once your own H-1B petition has been approved by USCIS and you have been granted an H-1B visa. Each family member (spouse and children) will need to submit a separate Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status.

2. Proof of Relationship:

In order to prove your familial ties, you must submit supporting documents. Typical examples include a marriage license and a certified copy of a child’s birth certificate. If these records are not already in English, they need to be translated immediately.

3. Maintain Valid Status:

Keeping your family’s H-1B status active is essential if they are joining you in the United States. This includes things like remaining employed by your visa sponsor during its duration.

4. Application for Work Authorization (Optional):

Your spouse may be able to find work in the United States, as was said before. After entering the nation, they can apply for work permits by filling out Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. Your spouse can then apply to and be hired by any company in the United States.

5. Application for a Dependent Visa Stamp:

If your dependents are still overseas when you receive your H-1B acceptance, they will need to visit the U.S. consulate or embassy in their native country to obtain an H-4 visa stamp. They can enter the country as your dependents with this visa stamp.

6. Arrival and Adjustment of Status:

Your loved ones will be granted H-4 visa status upon arrival in the United States. If your spouse still wants to work after getting an EAD, they can file for a Social Security number and start looking for a job.

Maintaining H-4 Status

It’s essential to be aware of the requirements for maintaining H-4 status:

  1. Dependence on the Primary H-1B Visa Holder: Those with an H-4 visa must have a qualifying relationship to an H-1B worker. The dependents of an H-1B visa holder may also be affected if the holder loses their status.
  2. Employment for H-4 EAD Holders: Your spouse’s eligibility for employment authorization in the United States depends on whether or not they continue to meet the requirements for EAD holders.
  3. Travel Abroad: With a valid visa stamp and passport, H-4 visa holders are free to travel in and out of the country. If your visa expires while you are away, getting back into the country may be difficult.

Potential Challenges and Considerations

Bringing your family with you on an H-1B visa may seem like a great idea, but there are a few things to keep in mind first.

  1. H-1B Cap: There is a yearly limit on the number of H-1B visas that can be issued, and not all applicants are successful in getting one. Therefore, there is a chance that your H-1B petition may be selected in the lottery, increasing the difficulty of bringing your family with you.
  2. Employment Changes: Your H-4 status may be changed if you, the H-1B visa holder, move employers. To make these changes as easy as possible, it is highly recommended to speak with an immigration attorney.
  3. Limited Employment Options for H-4 Visa Holders: While H-4 visa holders with EADs are allowed to work in the United States, they may be restricted in their job search.
  4. Dependent’s Age: Dependent status is given to children who are younger than 21 years old. If they attain this age while in the United States, they may need to depart or look into different visa possibilities.


The H-1B visa program allows foreign workers to bring their families to the United States to be with them while they work. One must, however, be well-informed about the procedure, keep one’s visa in good standing, and plan for probable obstacles.

A consultation with an immigration attorney might help you and your loved ones adjust more easily. In the end, bringing your family along on your H-1B journey is possible if you do your homework and follow immigration rules and regulations.

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Immigration attorney Matthew Thomas has 10+ years of expertise. He helps people and families navigate the complicated immigration procedure and achieve their goals. Matthew Thomas has helped customers get visas, green cards, and citizenship through comprehending U.S. immigration regulations. Matthew Thomas volunteers in community events to educate immigrants and promote awareness of immigration issues in addition to his legal practice. Matthew Thomas is a trusted immigration attorney that provides tailored and effective counsel.