After my H4 is approved, will I need to go back to my country of origin to go to the US consulate to get my passport stamped or do I not need to?

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After my H4 is approved, will I need to go back to my country of origin to go to the US consulate to get my passport stamped or do I not need to?

I moved to the US 2 years ago with a H4 visa as a dependent on my husband’s H1B.I then changed to a H1B last year. I am leaving my current job in 2 weeks (mid-february). I would like to go back to a H4 visa as my husband’s dependent.I understand I need to file the I-539 form and pay a $290 fee. I am planning to go on vacations to Mexico in about 3 months; I would like to make sure I can come back to the US.

Asked on January 28, 2014 under Immigration Law, California

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

An H-4 visa is a visa issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to immediate family members (spouse and children under 21 years of age) of the H-1B visa holders.

USCIS allows immediate family members of H visa holders (H-1A, H-1B, H-2A, H-2B, or H-3) to get H-4 visas to lawfully come and stay in the US. These visas are usually issued at the local US consulate office abroad. However, if the person is already in US, he or she can obtain H-4 status by filing Form I-539 for change of status.

H-4 visa holders are not eligible to get a Social Security Number and cannot be employed, but they can hold a driver's license, open bank accounts, and get an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number for US tax purposes.

Family members may alternatively be admitted in other non-immigrant categories for which they qualify, such as the F-1 category for children or spouses who will be students or the H-1B category for a spouse whose employer has also obtained approval of an H-1B visa petition to employ the spouse. An H-4 visa holder is admitted to the US for the duration of the primary (H-1B, H-2A, H-2B, or H-3) visa validity.

Since H-4 visa holders are not issued a social security number, an ITIN (Individual tax identification number) should be obtained before filing for joint tax returns by filing Form W-7. They are not authorized to work in the United States, though they are allowed to study.

Based upon what you have written about you should have no problem returning to this country so long as your visa is current.


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