Will I be in any kind of legal trouble by listening to my employer and not transferring my wife’s H4?

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Will I be in any kind of legal trouble by listening to my employer and not transferring my wife’s H4?

I have transferred my H1b visa from employer A to employer B. My wife’s H4 is not yet transferred. Her H4 stamp in passport is valid upto Aug 2015. Do I need to transfer her H4 from employer A to employer B? Is it compulsory? Employer B told me that she does not need a transfer as her H4 is valid and it is not associated to the employer. It is valid as long as I maintain my H1b status.

Asked on February 25, 2014 under Immigration Law, Maine

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 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.

Answer: Employer B is correct. Your wife does not need to transfer her H4 visa for the reasons stated above.


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