Home » US Immigration - Visas » H4 Visa » H4 Visa holders Situation in US : PBS Video – News Analysis TV Show

H4 Visa holders Situation in US : PBS Video – News Analysis TV Show

I stumbled upon this video (9 min) which explains some the problems of H4 visa holders and some thoughts and analysis done by critics in the show. The video is about How is the life of H4 visa holders in US, few efforts done for getting H4 visa holders to have work permit and critics arguing why H4 visa holders will not be given work permit, etc. Some of the views in the video are a little controversial to some extent…This video was originally broadcast on Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) on September 4th, 2009.

Meghana Damani Hearts Suspended Short Movie The video talks mostly about a short film made by H4 visa holder called ‘Hearts Suspended’ made by Meghana Damani . The short movie was selected for many film festivals. Check it out …

Update : USCIS passed a rule, which was effective May 25, 2015, that allows certain H4 visa holders to work, if they satisfy certain conditions. Read H4 Visa EAD Rule – USCIS  Guidance, Process 

What do you all think about the video and analysis ? Any thoughts?

Transcript for the whole video : H-4 Visas on PBS show – To The Contrary

Video Broadcast :  H-4 visas on PBS

The Short Film – Hearts Suspended on YouTube


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    • Please do not SPAM here ! The issue is h-4 visas and what it means to those who are stuck in a life of ‘living death’. If you have nothing to contribute to that discussion, please stay out.

  2. Hi Saurabh,

    My husband is going to US next week in H1B visa. My company is planning to apply H1B visa for me. Is it possible as well as legal that if my company apply for H1B from April and at the same time I go to US(April) on H4 and do Work from home from there (US). Come back to India for stamping and continue the job from October in US office.

    or is this possible they do COS as I am having H4 visa. and in the mean time i can do WFH from US.


    • Shruti,
      You can travel to US on H-4, but you cannot work here (even WFH) while you are on H-4. You can only work once your H-1 is approved. You can continue to stay in India and work from there, and once approved, go for stamping and then come to US.

  3. My name is Victor L Gutierrez Bravo; I would like to tell you about my life in the United States.

    We are a Mexican family. I’m married and father of two children, my wife is a teacher in East Palo Alto CA, my son is a student at UC Davis, and my daughter is a student at Graham middle School in Mountain View, CA. We have been living in the United States for 7 Years. We came here for the first time in 2005, in a Teacher Exchange Visitor Program for two years with a J2 visa. Then we went back to Mexico for one year to fulfill the program rules, and we returned to US and complete 3 more years holding the J2 visa under the same program. Since we are in the US, my children and I have been dependent of my wife’s visa status, first with the J1 visa. With my J2 visa, I was granted to work with a work permit and SSN. We are very happy living here, we had the opportunity to travel to different places in the US and get to know the stories of the people, and the diversity of the community to teach our children about this fabulous Country – I ‘m an Architect and I enjoy working in my area but also, I like to teach, help and volunteer in schools with kids who need support, most of them from an economically disadvantaged background.-
    In 2011 my wife was hired for the Ravenswood School District, she has completed the California education standards to continue teaching and changed her status to H1-B visa. With her new status, our visas have changed to H4 visa (my son’s, my daughter’s, and mine). At the beginning, I didn’t know that my permit to work had changed. After this change, it has become difficult for us to live under this new visa status due to the income and our son in College.

    As a father and as a husband, I have to find a way to contribute and support my wife and my children in everything from the economical to the moral, and I’m looking for a way to support my son’s tuition, so that he doesn’t have to stop his dream to finish his college and become someone great. Last year I had to go back to my country to work. I was separated from my family. My daughter dropped her grades and my wife and I we got depressed and sad because our first separation since we’ve been married (19 years). However, I had to decide to come back to US to be back with my family and stay with them although I’m now without job.
    I know there are different process to follow and to respect, I hope there is any chance or opportunity to get a permit to work during my wife’s visa status to continue with my family and to contribute to this Country’s economy, which has giving us shelter, health, food, knowledge but over all faith to keep moving forward.
    I’m praying to God, to make’s possible for does people who makes the rules in this Country can approve the petition to work under the H4 visa, and touch your hearts to make our life more worthy, as well as to contribute to the economy of the United States for a better future fo

    • Hi Victor, my family’s situation is very similar to yours. I have an H1B visa and my husband got an H4. He got tired of waiting and went back to his country to work. We are grateful for what we have had but it is devastating just to think on how much longer we have to be like this (separated). We consider the USA as our home, we have been here since 2007 and we love it. I am from Mexico, my husband is from Germany and my children are americans. We tried to make it in Germany first, but it was hard for me because I didnt master my German language to allow me to finish college over there (they were strict back then), so we went back to Mexico but immigration over there made almost imposible for my husband to get a working permit even though he was married to a Mexican citizen , they were always cheating and tricking us to get money out of us, and our salaries were not even worth it, so we found the oportunity to come here under a H1B visa (for me) and like I said it has been awesome because we all speak English since that is our way to comunicate, we love the people here, and we don’t feel judged by anyone or like someone is trying to trick us or so. We have followed all the rules and we hope that very soon we get the green card or at least a permit to work for my husband so he can return to us. Let’s hope that Obama doesn’t forget about the legal immigrants in his reform and puts people with our status first, because we pay taxes and are capable of making this economy stronger.

      • Hi friends, I’m creating a free eBook, Finding Myself consisting of the letters written Anonymously by current & ex H4 visa holders describing about their situation, struggle & ambitions. The goal of this eBook is to provide a platform where H4 can express powerfully & reflect the worth of the community. Individual contribution will help the community to raise the voice together. would you like to contribute? I’ll be happy to answer all your questions. Thank you !!

    • Hi friends, I’m creating a free eBook, Finding Myself consisting of the letters written Anonymously by current & ex H4 visa holders describing about their situation, struggle & ambitions. The goal of this eBook is to provide a platform where H4 can express powerfully & reflect the worth of the community. Individual contribution will help the community to raise the voice together. would you like to contribute? I’ll be happy to answer all your questions. Thank you !!

  4. My wife moved to USA during Dec 2012 end on H1B Visa. As per her job contract she has to be there for a year. Me and my daughter (3 years old) left in Bangalore, myself working as Chief Software Architect with 10+ years experience in technology, business and I was a founding engineer of this company, helped the company to grow to 45 employees and made 3 products. With all this, I will not able to work if I move to USA for the love my wife. Now we are processing H4 visa since we could not live without her. I need to resign/take break in my job and take care of my daughter during our stay there.

    I am tech crazy, worked on Linux, Windows Python, C++ almost 16 hours a day including weekends, so leaving the work is like putting me in dark jail. If I would like to help a startup in USA, legally I could not do anything on H4. I know, I cannot work there for money or rewards. At least, USA is not going to ban me writing my code or boot strapping my startup sitting at home. I would like to get involved in few open source projects(firefox, python), writing blogs, bootstrapping my own stuffs. I can still participate in tech meetups, hackathons, tech conferences, access to the library, hanging on hackers fourms and reddit.
    Even though, I cannot work there, I would like to take this challenge as turning point in my life. I will have enough time to prototype my business, and back to India and start with company.

    If you happened to be in H4, don’t get depressed being work less. There are many ways to keep you active, make a product/blog/book, make yourself a good writer. I cannot talk much on passing time, still you will have better chance to do the things you like.

    We seriously thinking now, how bad we missed our life living great in India when we both were working, we have great maid to take care of our loving child. Since my wife moved, 3 weeks back, we cannot make any justice to get her back, so we are going to be in USA 9 months. We are backing our maid with 9 months full salary even though she is not going to work for us, since she is more valuable to our child than 9 months free salary.

    • Hi friends, I’m creating a free eBook, Finding Myself consisting of the letters written Anonymously by current & ex H4 visa holders describing about their situation, struggle & ambitions. The goal of this eBook is to provide a platform where H4 can express powerfully & reflect the worth of the community. Individual contribution will help the community to raise the voice together. would you like to contribute? I’ll be happy to answer all your questions. Thank you !!

  5. Hi,
    I am from India and like you I have no technical degree which makes me ineligible for an H1B. I have an Mphil in English and a Post Graduate Diploma in Instructional Design with 10 years of experience in the field of Training (Design, delivery and development) and Instructional Design. Mine was a love marriage and when my husband got the opportunity to move here on an H1B, I couldnt stop him furthering his career and decided to stop working and move with him to keep our small family of 3 (i have a son) together. I was fully aware that my H4 status would not allow me to work here. I thought I was prepared to deal with the situation. However, once I was here, I knew it was a different story, specially after my son started kindergarten. H1B visa holders arent paid enough to own 2 cars and spend unwisely so having one car and very limited access to spending money has caused frustration. My husband is loving and caring but having some kind of financial independence is essential especially if you have worked before and are used to being incharge of how and when you spend your money and how much of it. I guess this takes a little getting used to. However, I then met quite a few women from my country who had basic education (which is a bachelors in my country), most of them had never worked before in their own country but were here on an L1 and had the opportunity to work here but most of them were sitting on the opportunity given to them. This made me think and the first thought that came to mind was why did we have this discrimination between H4 and L1 in the first place? For a moment if we think that of all H4 visa holders, if they were given an opportunity, how many would actually choose to work, i think percentage wise it would probably be the same number of women who would like to work if they were on L1. So why do we have this discrimination? If H4 visa holders were given the right to work (not H1B visas, just work permits/EADs), I think most people would not even think of working because as we all know, we only want what we cant get (easily). Because we have this huge injustice staring at us in the face, we as normal human beings, are reacting to it involutarily. Or maybe I am not thinking straight. Also, If one has the right to work permit, even though it may not be used as soon as one lands in the US, it could be used if there is a financial crisis or need for extra income or supporting your own college education if you want to pursue higher studies here…I think H4 visa holders must accept the fact that when they decided to follow their husband/family here in the US sacrificing their jobs and financial independence, they should be prepared for staying at home (market conditions, language problems, educational limitations, small kids to be looked after in acountry where day care and baby sitters can burn a hole in your pocket etc.). However, forcing people to sit at home just because they decided to keep the family together is not fair. I suggest that when H1B holders are interviewed, their spouses must be given consideration and based on their educational background (tech and non tech) and work experience (tech and non tech) must be granted a work permit if all documentation provided is true and valid. The work permit must be earned. A lot of people would think that this sounds elitist and that everyone must get a work permit but then why would one suddenly want to work in the United States if they never ever worked in India or any country they come from? I know quite a few women who suddenly developed aspiration to work in the United States and who had never worked in their earlier life. I guess this point must be discussed and we should get everyone’s thoughts on this one…

    • Hi friends, I’m creating a free eBook, Finding Myself consisting of the letters written Anonymously by current & ex H4 visa holders describing about their situation, struggle & ambitions. The goal of this eBook is to provide a platform where H4 can express powerfully & reflect the worth of the community. Individual contribution will help the community to raise the voice together. would you like to contribute in sharing your story & writing content for the eBook? I’ll be happy to answer all your questions. Thank you !!

  6. What about wives of L1 visa holders who are allowed to get a work permit (EAD) and work here , the minute they land in the US? They can also directly apply for the Green card compared to the tedious process that H1B & H4 visa holders have to endure. Just does not make sense.
    L1/L4 visa holders should be put through that misery and H1B/H4 visa holders who come here with a permanent job should be allowed to work and apply for Green Card the minute they land.
    For all those who don’t know about L1 visa holders (employees that work outside the US and are merely transferred to another country to work for the same company or its client on a project basis which can be short term or long term) It is different from H1B visa holders.
    I dont think the panel members understood the gist of the documentary and the complications and loopholes that exist here.

    • PJ,
      L-1 and H-1 have different requirements and so does the dependent visas. L-1 is for employer specific specialty requirement and assumption is that knowledge is not available outside the employer. So there is no point of PERM process to find out if there are American citizens w/ that knowledge or not. It’s not the case w/ H-1 and they have to go through the PERM process.

      • NO – PERM is for the green card, not for H1B ! PERM is permanent labor certification. The conditions for L1 and H1B are about the same, both dual intent visa, etc. One difference: for L1 you have to be with a company already for at least one year, outside the US, for H1B you can be hired right-a-way by a US co.

  7. Well, they could start applying for jobs until getting an H1B sponsor. 🙂
    If they are not qualified to get one, so they don’t have to complain. H4 visa holders are allowed to study, so they have what they need to get qualified. 😉

    • H1B is capped – and even if you find a sponsor the next year, that co. will probably not be anywhere near where the H1B husband works.
      H4 means often that you never get to work in this land. Nobody hires you if you have been without a job for several years. You are damaged material. And no work, no social security later, no MediCare.
      I was highly qualified (education/experience) but my job was, when we immigrated, not eligible for H1B.

    • Liana,
      Many of the H4 visas people are highly educated and qualified and they don’t need to waste another 50-100k to get a Us degree. a lot of my friends who have been educated in London or Australia or Europe have also had to get into an h4 visa rut just as much.

      The problem is the employer is going to have to wait 6 months before they can hire an h1 b visa employee. Am sure even if an American applies for a position, no employer is going to wait 6 months to fill a position?

      Usually the h1 b visa holder gets the visa post his studies in the us or he was working for a us firm with offices outside. Both cases the employer will simply apply in April and take him in October. But for a spouse to do it, she has to go to school or go find an employment outside US and come after 6 months. If she is already qualified and in mid thirties with a proper degree and experience, would u waste ur money and time studying again?

  8. Hey H4 holders,
    We are in the same boat but please don’t give up and be creative!!

    Look into your local TIMEBANK. That is exchanging an hour of your service to an hour of someone elses service. For example, if you can build websites, you exchange your skill directly with someone who needs a website and can teach you Spanish, or can babysit, or teach how to play the piano….No money involved and it prevents you from sitting idle, plus it will get you integrated into the community much faster.

    And if no Timebank exists yet, then start one;)

  9. My friend from the Philippines who is here on an H4 Visa is divorcing her husband who is the H1 Visa holder. She realizes that she will lose her H4 Visa status when the divorce is final and have to return to the Philippines. She was advised by a family law attorney that if she were to marry me a US citizen or any other US citizen that a Judge or the Immigration authorities (I received that info second hand) would immediately send her back to he Philippines stating that her Marriage is a fraud since she would marry the US citizen within a close time frame of the divorce. It appears that from your answer to another client that I read, as long as the former H4 person is marrying a US citizen that there is no problem with the H4 citizen remaining here in the US legally. Would the former H4 person who would then be married to the US citizen be required to return to the Philippines, or can the former H4 person then apply for a Green Card as the spouse of the American citizen? I hope I clarified this, if I didn’t, I will try again to re-word it.

  10. Hi,
    I have completed my masters and working on opt. I want to apply for h1 this year. Is there any possibility as this year quota is complete? Please help

    • Hi Sravank,
      Good you have completed master here. Yes surely you will get more change to file H1 visa. Employer’s prefer CPT/OPT compare to H4 visa holders. You have enough time to search for good employer for 2013 visa quota.
      All the very best..

  11. I am from Azerbaijan, and my name is Iqbal Masih. I am sorry I will hurt sentiments of the people around this blog. But what ever happend in my life is true and I am going to share this here. I was recently married and came to USA on h1, after few months my wife joined me on h4 and from the begining she came here she was not interested in me. She applied for h1 from Azerbaijan and she want to just timepass before she can get her h1 approved. She never allowed me to touch her, she said she has some problem with her mind and body. We slept seperately in different rooms for 2 months, slowly I came to know she is using me and just want to get rid of me as soon as she gets her h1.

    After few days I came to know she has a boy friend in USA, and she liked him and just to come here she used me and my h4. She is big time bad girl, I and all of you will never see in our lifetime.

    After coming to know her intensions I filed divorce and past 3 months she is living with her boy friend. There should be some way to screw such ladies, who cheat husbands and go with boy friends.

    I know this is complete fraud, cheating one person coming on one visa and shifting to another visa category. But who will believe and what should be done to be safe from my side. Because in feature when I get marry with another girl and try to get her to usa then uscis will ask me what happend to your ex-wife and why did u filed for divorce in 2 months after coming to usa? what will be my answer?

    She ditched me, and I want such people to learn a leason. And I want to be on the safe side. What shall I do next? Shall I inform USCIS and INS about her saying she is not living with me for past 3 months and I have already filed divorce and she is still in usa waiting for her h1 approval? What will be the effects on me?

    (I am not the one who think all women are bad, but yes this women is.)

    Allah Hu Akbar! Allah will definitly punish such women.

    • Get Divorce and move on. No point chasing something that wont yield anything. Better get the divorce asap and forget about everything. You might be asked to pay her something, always keep one point in your mind “mental peace is more important than money”.

      Iēsus Nazarēnus, Rēx Iūdaeōrum

    • Ameen Surely Brother Allah will punish her.Inshallah you will be fine later on when you apply for your new H4 spouse. Its very heartbreaking and I can understand your situation. Inshallah All will be good. Try to ask an attorney for correct advice whoever filed your H1B & H4 previously. It will very confusing to trust Laymen advice in Legal Matters , Inshallah you will be fine since you didnt make any mistake.

      Pray for me as well.

  12. hi ,I am in H1 and my husband is in H4.He is an electrical automation engineer.Can anyone suggest us on how to proceed with job searching and visa coversion ?Please help us

    • Parvin,
      Look at job sites, get in touch w/ your network of friends and family and look at list of past H-1 filers on sites like FlcDataCenter

  13. Hi,

    I am on a H4 right now and I am planning to pursue my MBA. So if I want to apply on H4 for my MBA, will I still be allowed to look for a H1B job in the coming year (if my MBA is online/weekend)? Are there any legal implications if I would like to do two things at once.

    Thanks so much!

      • Hi Stella,
        U shud adjust ur status to F1 visa and do your MBA which will give u the benefit of OPT.
        If you do it on H4 visa, you will end up getting into the April to October lockup.

  14. Hi, appreciate if you can help.
    I wonder if H4 can start and run their own business? I am thinking about taking an accounting degree that qualify me to start a small business in tax preparation / bookkeeping. Since i am my own employer, will it still be classified as ‘work’? If still not possible, what kind of visa status shall i obtain in order to be able to do that?
    Thanks so much formyour help!

  15. Please, join http://www.facebook.com/groups/H4Visa/. I want your support guys. Lets make a difference. I wanted to make it a big project

  16. Hi
    I am on H4.Can I do freelancing like talking to clients on phone ,but work and amount will be paid to person in India through his site.I will not be paid any money for that.

    Is it Ok to do that?

  17. Hi Saurabh,
    Could you please provide me a reliable site to find if a company/consultancy is blacklisted by USCIS for filing H1-B visa?

    Thank you.

    • Avoid DOL blacklisted employers on job market!
      article on myvisajobs.com is helpful. it has link for all 1.Debarred/Disqualified Employers
      2.Willful Violator Employers

      I am not able to post link here, but if you google “myvisajobs blacklist” you will find it

  18. Hi,
    My husband has H1-B visa and I’m on H4 visa. Can we do online trading like day trading or commodities. That i shouldn’t work and earn according to the law, Can my husband work as a freelancer as a part time being in H1-B already he is working in a company, As we both are on same technology i can help him rather than just sitting at home. The pay pal Account will be my husbands account. Is there would be any problem?

    Please suggest.
    Thanks a lot in advance.

    • Ramya,
      Your husband can do stock/commodity trading but not as a professional. However, he or you cannot do any freelancing unless that work is routed through your employer. He can only work through his employer.

  19. Hi,
    I’m married and came to US(New Jersey) with my husband. My husband has H1-B visa and I’m on H4 visa. By profession, I’m a Software developer. Now I’m a bit confused as to is there any way in which I can earn? Could you please provide me guidance on the following:
    1) What visa status will be required so that I can work for an IT company here?
    2) Can I do some online job like freelancer.com, rentacoder.com, etc?
    3) Can I work on opensource software projects?
    4) I’m not interested in really doing any course/study. So, What can be other possible options?

    Please suggest.
    Thanks a lot in advance.

    • Pooja,
      1. H-1 oe L-1
      2. No, you cannot
      3. As long as you don’t get paid for them
      4. Find an employer and have them file H-1 for you.

      Remember, on H-4 you cannot work to get paid. You can volunteer, but that also comes w/ its own set of restrictions.

      • 4. Find an employer and have them file H-1 for you.

        How can i find employer..as I checked with some they say after i go thorugh interview – fine but if clients agree to wait till i get VISA …but how will this be possible??
        Please let me know if you know any employer who is ready to do…

        Thanks in advance…

        • Sinha,
          Yes, lot of clients who have immediate requirements do not like to wait till Oct. This is a catch 22 situation.

          What you can do is approach employers who are big in size and are reputable. USCIS often doesn’t ask for client letter from such companies. This includes big consulting giants (American or otherwise).

    • Hi pooja,

      I can totally understand ur situation. I also came to USA after my marriage two months back after quitting my 5 yrs job in India. Saurabh’s answera are totally correct. But it doesn’t mean that we should stop trying and sit hom idle.
      I came to know about one online business, have heard about the same in India as well but truely speaking was not having any positive vibes for this.
      But after joining this I came to know that this is the best option till the time u r on H4.
      U can also try smthing like this, at least it keeps me little busy in positive way.

      Hope best for you.

      • Even I’m on H4 since 3 months and am on the lookout for H1B sponsor jobs. But now that the cap is met for 2013, I’m planning to look for other options like L1.

        What is the online business about Noopur ?

  20. Hello,

    I am on H4 and got a job offer from a legit employer that is willing to sponsor me. Unfortunately, they need me to be on position in three months time at most. But, the H1B visa cap is already consumed and I believe I can be filed start on April 1, 2012 and can only work as early as Oct. 1, 2012 as start of FY 2013.
    Can i work ahead of Oct. 1, when my H1b was decided? Even as volunteer without pay.

    Appreciate your response…

  21. Hi ,
    I am on H4 and want to know something.. our visa expired last year in October , but our extension has been applied by the company before the expiry. As per the company policy an employee can stay and work unless extension is rejected by USCIS. The tracking no. which is given to us shows that document is still under initial review , on USCIS site. Now the thing is I have applied for volunteer job ( Which I think H4 ppl can do legally) They want my fingerprints report from local police station. Police station will see my ID (I only have passport) , and it has expired visa. (Extension in process) . Will I get in trouble if they check visa dates , and dont consider the extension process / tracking no. as a proof? Should I go for the checks and volunteer thing .. or just drop the idea sit at home???

    • Mansi,
      Police officials are not most aware about immigration rules, and it’s often left up to ICE officials to enforce them. The officer might take a look at the visa, and question about it. However, you can confidently answer them about the immigration rule. BTW, it’s not a company policy that allows a person to stay in US on the basis of pending extension; it’s USCIS policy. If it helps, you can take a letter from the attorney mentioning the same that a person can stay up to 240 days beyond I-94 expiration date.

      • Thanks…Before going for finger printing we received our extension documents and above that , officer did not care to check that. Now my another question is that if H4 visa ppl are allowed to to do an unpaid Internship? I am getting an offer of volunteer job from an organisation in my field but its a kind of Internship for currently enrolled or recent graduates. They will not pay , but allow to work on a project and will provide college credits if required.

        • Mansi,
          A person can do volunteer work on H-4 as long as there are other employees in the firm volunteering for similar kind of work. So one can volunteer at Red Cross, but cannot volunteer as DBA in Google. I am not sure what will be your exact job profile as an intern and whether there will be other interns (non H-4) doing it for free.

          • The organisation offers Unpaid internship and Volunteer jobs in several fields for college credits (everything is unpaid), mine is Market Research and it is unpaid even if any American would do that. So, in a way I think I am not replacing any American or taking anybody’s job. Besides, I have told them clearly that I am on dependent visa. Now what you suggest ? whether it is legal?

    • Umas,
      I don’t think there are any prominent issues. Lot of H-1/L-1 visa holders have their kids in US. The only thing I can think of is to make sure your legal status doesn’t get effected just around the delivery or soon after the baby is born. If you have to leave US at that time b/c of end of H-1 employment etc, then that could be a travel issue.

  22. Hi Saurabh,

    When I was with L1-B and my spouse had L2, I had applied for EAD and SSN. She got both the things but EAD had expired long back. And also I switched to H1 and she is having H4.
    Since she has SSN, can she work in US without EAD or Work Authorization Status ?
    Please explain and confirm.
    Thanks & Regards,

    • Ganesh,
      Even though she has SSN, but as her current visa status is H-4, she cannot work in US. H-4 visa holders are not allowed to work even if they have SSN or say unexpired EAD from time when they were on L-2 or OPT.

  23. Hi,
    I came to US(Virginia) on 24April’11 having H4.I am planning to do MBA
    from a community college of VA.
    I will complete around 1 year when will join the college(FALL).
    Would I be eligible for in-state Tuition?
    Would it be expensive to study on H4 than F1?
    Can you guide me some good Community colleges for MBA in VA?

    • Richa,
      Usually when one has stayed in the state for at least 1 year, they become eligible for in-state tuition. However, you should also check w/ the school about their domicile criteria.

      Studying on F-1 is usually more expensive than H-4. However, w/ F-1 one gets the advantage of OPT, CPT and TA/RA.

  24. Hi,
    Im on H4 visa and due to early marriage I left my graduation midway in second year of Bsc in India..so Im technically a 12th passout..Now I really want to get back to school..and study dentist hygiene to become a dentist, I have contacted few colleges and they seem to have some prerequisites , Can you please guide as to how to go about it. Also some recommendations for 2yr courses which come under decent income groups which I can consider if Im not able to enroll in the dentistry program.
    Thank you.

  25. Hi,

    Currently i am residing in US since 2009 on H4 status.I am a graduate(B.Tech,ECE) from India.Now i am planning to do MS here.Can anybody help me about how and where to start.Can i do on H4 status itself or change to F1.

    Thank You,

    • Sravanthi,
      You can study either on H-4 or F-1
      – You will have to pay international student fees when studying on F-1
      – You will not be eligible for CPT, OPT when studying on H-4
      – You will not be eligible for RA etc when studying on H-4

      You should first decide what course you want to pursue and then look for schools in and around your area. You can then approach the faculty members and learn more about their courses.

  26. Hi,

    I have a question, I.ve been here in US as a L2 visa holder, now the changed our status to H4, I used to have a permit for work here, but now with H4 I lnow that I´m not allowed, But selling your old or used clothes on ebay is that a work?
    I will really appreciate your helps!!!!

  27. Hi,
    I got married on April 1st 2010 and flew to USA with my husband on H-4.
    However, we had some compatibility issues and i returned to India in 1 year – May 1st 2011.
    Since then, i have been here and now i am planning to pursue my higher studies in US.
    My H-4 has expired and i will be planning for a F1 visa, for this fall semester.
    However, i am not yet divorced and am a victim of Domestic Violence. The case is still in progress here.
    Will there be any difficulties at the time of VISA, since i am married but not yet divorced but only seperated?
    Please do let me know your suggestions!!

    • I don’t think there will be any issues as you are separated now. You may be asked about your H-4 visa and you can reply to the officer truthfully. I have seen cases where the person moves from H-4 to F-1, while still being married and the stamping gets approved. If you have any documents to show the on-going domestic violence case, then you should carry them as well and present them to the officer as and when needed.

      This being F-1 visa, you may also be asked about your ties to India, to gauge if you will return to India after completing your studies.

      • Thank you very much for the prompt reply Saurabh. Appreciate your help!!
        I will make sure that i carry my case related documents while appearing for the visa interview.
        Thank you!!

    • Deboshree Im also just like you,left my graduation in 2nd year..Im also considering doing distance education through Ignou or some other recognized institution in India or community college here in US.
      Any advice would be great on here.

  28. Hi i m H4 visa candidate,and like all other dependent wives,i also get bored and getting frustrated in home alone.As i have to come us with my husband i leave my final yr.exam of graduation which will be held on the month of May 2012,now i m planning to do some DISTANCE LEARNING COURSES ,so can u plz.tell me that is the H4 VISA candidates r allowed to do any kind of DISTANCE LEARNING COURSES OF SHORT PERIOD.Plz. help me.

  29. i m in US since march 2011 and my visa status is H4 type, i got married in jan 2011 and came to US but my relation with my husband got worst and now i m in different state with my uncle and aunt. i m now planing to join school from next fall. i m a medical doctor now i want to do masters in public health but i have no idea about how to apply how can i get scholarship ??? i m trying my best to get more info from web sites. can someone please guide me HELP ME !!!

    • Currently you are in US on H-4 and you need to maintain that. Unfortunately, a lot of power is given to primary H-1 beneficiary and not to his dependents on H-4. For example, if your H-4 is about to expire, then you need documents from your husband to file for extension. If your husband leaves US for good, you have to leave US as well if you are still on H-4. If you file for divorce, you can no longer stay in US on H-4. In your case, you need to keep all this in mind.

      Regarding studies, you can either study on H-4 or F-1. As being on H-4 will always tie you to your husband’s visa status, it may be tricky. To be on F-1, you will be have to file for Change of Status (COS), for which you may have to submit recent payslips from your husband, which I am not sure you can arrange or not. If your husband can co-ordinate w/ you to study here, it would be better, or else it may get lot tougher. Also, you need to show funds for your tuition when you enroll on H-4 or F-1.

      Let me know if you have any questions.

      • thank u so much for the reply….i didnt know so many things…my h4 will expire next year…i still have 12 more months n i dnt think the guy i married to have plan to leave US soon. right now i m living with my uncle and aunt and searching for school. i dnt think my husband will help me in any ways for now…. i dnt think he’s gonna help me with joining school. i asked few of my relatives here n they said once i join school i can apply for change of visa status but i dnt think my husband will help me in any ways. what should i do ? should i go back to my country n apply for f1?? or should i stay here n search for school n join school n then afterwards maintain my visa status ?? i m planing to file divorce after i maintain my visa status.

        • H-4 is a visa that allows for family union. When husband and wife live separately, it doesn’t qualify as union. There have been cases where people used H-1 H-4 option to immigrate to US illegally i.e. they would come together and then go separate ways. You need to make sure you are not treated as someone who came to US on pretext on marriage and now living separately. Check w/ an immigration lawyer on this.

          Regarding education, you can pursue studies on H-4. Your relatives can sponsor your education (if you don’t have funds). However, once your visa is about to expire (I-94), you will have to file extension for which you need documents from your husband (work related, salary slips, W2 etc). If you decide to move to student visa (F-1), then also you need same documents from your husband. Filing for F-1 visa from your home country is a better option that filing for COS (especially if you do no expect your husband to support you in terms of documents).

          • do i really need documents from my husband to change my visa status after i join school ?? 🙁 cos i dnt think my husband will help me in anyways :(.

          • When you apply for change of visa status, USCIS wants to confirm whether you maintained your previous status and also whether you will be able to maintain your new status. For prior status, they would ask for husband’s payslips as H-4’s status is derived from primary H-1’s status. Be aware that if your husband stops maintaining his status, it eventually means that you are not maintaining yours.

            You can try for COS, but I doubt if it would be approved. Also there is not enough time to apply for MS this fall on F-1 w/ GRE and scholarship.

            Did you think about leaving US and applying from your home country?

    • Hi:
      call any nearest college around you.. Tell them u r on H4 and want to go on F1.
      Ask them about financial support documents are compulsorily submitted from ur husband’s end. I guess they will be OK if your UNCLE or PARENT are supporting ur expenses. After all they just want to make sure that U have enough finance ..until ur visa is not expired they should be OK.
      You may remember ur husband’s SSN ..consult Immigration lawyer …he/she may suggest few things.
      Good luck ..I can imagine how difficult situation you are in.
      Hope you can find way out ..

      • thank u sakshi for the reply i m searching for school and i m stding toefl right now, there are bunch of university which require GRE but i dnt have time for GRE now…and i need scholarship anyhow cos my husband is definetly not going to help me in anyways and my parents are also not supportive they think i m being stubborn n incompatible with him and my uncle and aunt are just someone i know not my relatives and more over they don’t have good job to afford me with my stdes so i need to grab school with scholarship 🙁 i m so much in confusion right now 🙁

  30. I am on H4 visa and I really appreciate this video. I really want to work so that atleast I can earn my own bread but I cant do anything.
    Good work. Keep it up

  31. Hi,
    i am divorced under domestic voilence.what happens to my h4 visa.i have come back to india and planning to apply for f1.should i fill the visa application for f1 as divorced or can i apply with a status of married.what are my chances of f1 stamping?

    • Your H-4 is no longer applicable as its a dependent on primary H-1, and I am not sure if that’s appropriate given your domestic situation.

      If your legal status is divorced, then you cannot apply as married.

      You can apply for F-1 as long as you have I-20 from an accredited university and have funds/scholarship to pay for your tuition. You also need to show ties to India to show that you will return back to India after your studies and do not plan to immigrate.

  32. once you are on h4, you are going to lose everything:
    in terms of career, you are unlikely to find a job because:
    .you are considered under-employed [or unemployed] (hence an un-attractive candidate in terms of skills, knowledge and experience since it is a -wrong- mentality that unemployed people are either lazy or were downsized first as a result of their under-achievements) so it is likely no one will hire you until the unemployment becomes negative
    .you don’t have a valid US driver license
    .you don’t have a social security number so you are suspected of being here illegally (which you are not)
    .Since you don’t have a social security number, your background check comes back blank, as if you don’t exist, so apparently all the work history on your online application is false (but that is not true…)
    .you lied on your application (this one is a real hassle): it is just that since there is no selection of country in the application form, only states, you selected the state you live in or left the default state and clicked apply. When they verify your employment, you appear as a fake!)
    .on the online application, you cannot check “allowed to work in the US” so you are automatically rejected by a big percentage of employers (many of which are willing to sponsor your visa but assume since you are not allowed to work, you cannot be sponsored or you have some legal immigration issues that you are hiding)
    .fees and headaches of companies of doing an h1b before april of year X and waiting for aproval by october of the same year put you in a disadvantage
    .Since you are in the US and are not working, a foreigner (from your country) would more likely be able to apply to an h1b than you because you are considered of a lower achieving grade since you are possibly “dumped” by recruiters and hence your H4 (This is how the recruiters see it)
    .you cannot work as a W2 contractor since you are not a permanent resident allowed to work and many job offerers prefer to “test” [or abuse] your skills on a W2 before making you a full time employee
    .and finally, why bother and sponsor you for an h1b when there is a risk of your application being denied, being over-quota, or that the recession will become worse

    on a personal level:
    .your spouse (male or female) will control you, the money and everything. Any item you purchase will be scrutenized by the spouse “I work X hours per week and you are a good for nothing stay at home parent !”
    .you will likely experience marital tension and your marriage bonds will be tested and the worse part is that the spouse can threaten to divorce you and in that case good luck trying to find the means to purchase a ticket back home (where you will be greeted with disgrace as if you are a failure who abandonned your parents…)
    .no driving license, in many states
    .no possibility to open a credit card (you need to have a social security number)
    .you cannot have a garage sale, it is considered work ! you are (I think) only allowed to sell your stuff before you depart for ever
    .your spouse could possibly suspect you of cheating since you are at home 12 feet away from a bed
    .As an H4, you are looked “down” by your neighbours who most likely don’t have a third of the education that you have
    .you are not allowed (and not advised) to volunteer because it is considered unpaid work
    .and the worse, which is happening to me, is that I am changing career and graduating again (From IT to Project Management) and I know I will hit a wall because of the above reasons
    .Since you are on h4 it is likely that an h1b candidate from your home country would be a better fit since he/she still has 6 years to be in H status while you already consumed a share of those 6 years (in my case 5 with an expected green card in 6 years from today)

    So my advise to all of those who are coming or expecting to be on an H4 visa is to stay here a month until the spouse is settled and then re-evaluate on a monthly basis your “mental” and “marital” statuses and act accordingly

    As for those who face abuse, depression or any of the consequences of being married to an h1b and being on h4, you can call 911 for emergencies or any of the abuse hotlines and they will be able to offer better guidance for you.

    Good luck to us all ( or a miracle to us all)

    • I really liked your post ..its an eye opener for girls who may come on H4 ..
      Everything you have written is 100% true …yes good luck to all of us

    • Hi Anonymous,

      I urge you to read my book which can be downloaded for free from the following link. It is dedicated to H-4 Wives.


      Please focus on what “you can do” on H-4 rather than “what you cannot”. I assure you it will change your perspective about living life on H-4. I hope my book inspires you at some level.

      Wishing you lots of happiness & light

      • Oh pleaze, there is nothing one can do ! Life flows away from you and many years later you wonder why you have been so stupid. Is any man worth given up your life for ?
        Methinksnot. And yet that’s what happens.

    • Before I respond to your post, let me state where I am coming from so that people don’t think that I don’t empathize w/ persons on H-4. My wife who is a graduate from LSR Delhi and IIT-B came here on H-4 and tried to file H-1, but didn’t make through the lotteries in 07 and 08. She then enrolled in a college on F-1, completed here Masters. She struggled to find an internship and found a company on OPT almost towards the end of her course. She later moved to H-1 early this year and now working for a reputed company in the Bay Area. So I know what it feels to be qualified and unemployed, but I also know how people often loose direction when faced with the daunting task of being a “skilled H-4”. It shouldn’t be taken as a short-coming but as a challenge.

      Your post was highly negative, and so I thought of responding to it to put in some clarifications and may be provide another perspective.

      My comments inline below.

      .you don’t have a valid US driver license
      SA – Why is that? I don’t know what state you are in, but in CA a person can get the DL even on H-4

      .you don’t have a social security number so you are suspected of being here illegally (which you are not)
      SA – Who suspects that? SSN doesn’t prove a resident is legal or not. It’s the I-94 that proves that

      .Since you don’t have a social security number, your background check comes back blank, as if you don’t exist, so apparently all the work history on your online application is false (but that is not true)
      SA – If you have already told the potential employer that you haven’t worked in US, why would a black check correspond to false representation on the application

      .you lied on your application (this one is a real hassle): it is just that since there is no selection of country in the application form, only states, you selected the state you live in or left the default state and clicked apply. When they verify your employment, you appear as a fake!)
      SA – What application form are you referring here?

      .on the online application, you cannot check “allowed to work in the US” so you are automatically rejected by a big percentage of employers (many of which are willing to sponsor your visa but assume since you are not allowed to work, you cannot be sponsored or you have some legal immigration issues that you are hiding)
      SA – Typically the selections are “not allowed to work”, “allowed to work for any employer”, and “allowed to work for your employer only”. (1) and (3) imply that the new employer needs to sponsor visa. People on H-4 would fall into category (1), while those on H-1 would fall into category (3). GC holders, people w/ EAD and citizens are in category (2). If an employer decides to sponsor a person’s visa then that employer should know that sponsoring a visa implies that the person cannot work for you w/o sponsorship.

      .fees and headaches of companies of doing an h1b before April of year X and waiting for approval by October of the same year put you in a disadvantage
      SA – Not true in current years. This year and past year, H-1s were filled in late Dec/Jan. So a company could have filed the visa w/ Premium processing, and the person could have started the work immediately.

      .Since you are in the US and are not working, a foreigner (from your country) would more likely be able to apply to an h1b than you because you are considered of a lower achieving grade since you are possibly “dumped” by recruiters and hence your H4 (This is how the recruiters see it)
      SA – Not true. Being in US, gives you the advantage of vetting these recruiters more closely. You can pay a visit to their office, talk to them face to face etc before filing the visa. A person filing from India has no such facility, and in most of the cases there is an Indian recruiting agency involved in b/w that often dupes them.

      .you cannot work as a W2 contractor since you are not a permanent resident allowed to work and many job offerers prefer to “test” [or abuse] your skills on a W2 before making you a full time employee
      SA – That holds true for people on H-1 as well. However if you are in consulting, the companies do have openings for “contract to hire”. In this case, they can “test” and then finally hire you. BTW, what kind of “abuse” are you referring to here?

      .and finally, why bother and sponsor you for an h1b when there is a risk of your application being denied, being over-quota, or that the recession will become worse
      SA – Again, that is true for people on H-1 as well (in terms of extensions and transfers)

      contd …

      • Hello Saurabh ,
        You are right, I need to correct two of my points above:
        .In NC, you needed an SSN in 2007 to get a drivers license. The new regulations seemed to have addressed this issue in NC (True, thanks for your intervention)
        .Period spent on H-4 is not counted against the 6 year clock (True, thanks for your intervention)
        As for the other points, since this is a forum:
        .you don’t have a social security number so you are “suspected” of being here illegally Updated Answer:by the average recruiter, this is from personal experience. Your experience may be different. the background check comes blank and that is not encouraging either. In general, I am talking about applying online to a job advertisement or filling an application form at a recruiter’s office without seeing the potential employer. when you apply online, you have to select “State” for your experience (in many job application portals). There is no dropdown for country. So either you select a state randomly or you put where you live (otherwise you cannot click submit).

        Also, in the online job application questionnaire: there is rarely a selector with a value “Sponsorship required” but this is in a few percentile of advertised ads. Usually the choices are “Allowed to work in the US”,”US Citizen”, “Not allowed to work in the US” and sometimes it is just a checkbox “Allowed to work in the US” and human nature dictates that all those who choose “Not allowed” or those who don’t check the checkbox would be disregarded by an HR who is not an expert in immigration rights.

        I reply no to the question “Can you, at the time of employment, submit verification of your legal rights to work in the U.S.?” because I am on H4 (I am not on F1, I am doing online project managment certification, not taking physical classes)

        here is an example of another online application with this issue:

        being on H4, I err on the side of caution.
        Every immigration case is different and this is why an attorney would be in a better position to guide (again, err on the side of caution and consult an attorney).

        I am just showing my personal experience as a very oldtimer in H4. Your experience, circumstances and environment may be much different.

        Again, thanks for the corrections above.

        • The links you have submitted are for a gas station and fitness/sports center. Do you plan to work for them on H-1? If so, then what will be your work profile there?

          Companies that hire international workers mostly have employment forms that has a picklist for the country; so that the candidates can fill-in their international experience. Companies that don’t hire international candidates typically don’t have a column for the country.

          Besides, companies that sponsor visa or are willing to sponsor visa, usually put up sponsorship question in their form. If a company just asks for authorized or not authorized, then there is a high probability that they are not going to sponsor the visa. So there’s no point in applying in them.

    • contd from above …

      .your spouse (male or female) will control you, the money and everything. Any item you purchase will be scrutenized by the spouse “I work X hours per week and you are a good for nothing stay at home parent !”
      SA – If that is true, then there is a bigger fundamental problem in the marriage. In a way it’s good to know that your partner thinks that way as now you know who you have really married – someone who doesn’t respect you

      .no driving license, in many states
      SA – which state are you referring here?

      .no possibility to open a credit card (you need to have a social security number)
      SA – If you are referring to opening a credit card for having credit history, then I agree. If you are referring to CC for having independence of using it, then probably not as your spouse can have an add-on card for you (unless the marriage is already in doldrums because of 1st point)

      .you cannot have a garage sale, it is considered work ! you are (I think) only allowed to sell your stuff before you depart for ever
      SA – Not true. Even on H-1, H-4 you can have the garage sale. This falls under passive income which is allowed.

      .your spouse could possibly suspect you of cheating since you are at home 12 feet away from a bed
      SA – I don’t see the co-relation. Isn’t the working spouse away from home amongst all the colleagues. So why is “stay at home” spouse suspected?

      .As an H4, you are looked “down” by your neighbours who most likely don’t have a third of the education that you have
      SA – Not a universal truth. Depends upon who you are living amongst

      .you are not allowed (and not advised) to volunteer because it is considered unpaid work
      SA – Not true. A person on H-4 can volunteer as long as there are other people volunteering in the company for similar kind of work. So a person on H-4 can join American Red Cross for example.

      .and the worse, which is happening to me, is that I am changing career and graduating again (From IT to Project Management) and I know I will hit a wall because of the above reasons
      SA – Are you graduating on H-4 or F-1?

      .Since you are on h4 it is likely that an h1b candidate from your home country would be a better fit since he/she still has 6 years to be in H status while you already consumed a share of those 6 years (in my case 5 with an expected green card in 6 years from today)
      SA – Period spent on H-4 is not counted against the 6 year clock. Only the time spent on H-1 and L-1 is counted against the clock.

      • Hi Saurabh,

        Felt good reading your reply. Felt even better when I read “Even on H-1, H-4 you can have the garage sale. This falls under passive income which is allowed.”

        How true it this? And is there a official website that states the same?

        Thanks buddy!!!

        • I don’t have any link to any official website. However, if you search for terms H-1 and passive income, you should see bunch of websites (including those of attorneys) which talk about this.

  33. hey,
    just following the thread of thoughts here and am really interested in finding out.. how many of the ladies actually continued studying? I’ve been here since a couple of months, the boredum hasn’t become too dreadful, but yea i fear some day it might. my husband and i were hoping i could get a scholarship, get enrolled. Honestly, with one breadwinner, we cant quite afford the education here, so scholarship would have to be our preference. Can anyone give any guidance or suggestions on that please?

    • Try looking at state colleges – they usually have lesser fees that private ones. I don’t know which state you are in, but in CA there are lot of Cal State University schools that may be affordable.

    • hi:
      I am amongst those h4 wives who finally started study. If you are staying in same state for last 12 months you can get tuition concession by at least 50 percent.
      Now it depends on which state you are residing. If you get admission on H4 you don’t have to maintain your full time student status. i.e you can take as less as 3 credits per semester so that you can collect credits also save money… and after that being in the system eventually you can become full time f1 visa ….
      and for scholarship you need to have very good GRE or relevent test score …
      good luck

      • If one enrolls into a school as H-4, the person needs move to F-1 at the right time in order to make use of OPT and be eligible for H-1 under Masters degree quota.

        The other financial advantage is that you can have your school issue 1098-T for you, and you can then claim that on your tax return.

        • Do not change to F1 from H1 or H4 without consulting an attorney.
          The F1 visa IS NOT dual intent !!! do i you are applying for immigration or intend to in the future, your application could be denied because of being on F1 (even if your spouse is on h1b, or any other dual i ntent status).
          Check with an attorney before making such a critical visa status change

          • This link clarifies when and if you should apply for an F1 when you are in H4 status…it is more complicated if you have applied for I 140 (and much more if you are the principal applicant having been on h1b and being now laid off), so check the link and triple check with your immigration attorney.

          • Anonymous Please,

            Not quite true. Yes, F-1 is not for dual intent, but that doesn’t mean if you have been on F-1 at one point then your AOS petitions will be rejected in future. A lot of people do Masters in US on F-1, then apply for H-1 and finally have their GCs processed.

            What specific scenario are you referring here? If you are talking about filing GC while on F-1 or moving to F-1 w/ GC in process, then probably one needs to check w/ immigration lawyer; otherwise I don’t see any impact.

  34. Friends,

    We’re all are aware of the identity crisis that many girls experience after they get married and come to the United States of America on a dependent visa, famously or infamously known as H-4 visa. The alarming number of stories about depression and loneliness experienced by H-4 wives inspired me to find a medium that would allow me to share my secret of leading a life full of happiness and sheer bliss while being on a dependent visa. And I thought the best medium to deliver my message would be through a book.

    My book “H-4 Fortune Cookies” is dedicated to all the H-4 wives who believe that “life is a struggle” in a new country, especially when it involves leaving behind a well paying job, a stable career, or promising educational achievements in their respective home countries. It is for those who believe that they are not free despite living in a free country – “The Land of Opportunity”; that they have sacrificed and surrendered a significant part of themselves to their restrictive immigration statuses.

    It contains 50 Inspirational Thoughts written by me, who was fortunate enough to have enjoyed every moment being a H-4 wife! I want to share my good fortune with all the H-4 wives in the form of these 50 Fortune Cookies that stood by me during tough times. I sincerely hope that the thoughts in my book spark a ray of hope in the lives of all those wives who left their homelands to be in a progressive country, yet feel constrained due to their immigration statuses. I deeply desire to liberate all the H-4 wives from their mental inhibitions and inspire them to realize their dreams while being on a dependent visa.

    Share the good fortune by passing on these fortune cookies that are stocked with a lot of goodness and hope for all those who need a fresh perspective about “life on H-4″.

    My book is available for FREE in the form of an e-book and can be downloaded from the following link:


    Experience the joy in spreading hope & inspiration through the fortune cookies in my book!

    Lots of Happiness & Light

  35. on the contrary on the video.. yes you are absolutely right it is a family decision… however husbands/wife’s that are able to get H1B would only mean 1 thing… their wife/husband on H4 are also qualified or even much better than the one who has H1B. My point is… Why not just let them work even for a minimal hour just to compensate the time of doing nothing at all… it wouldnt be that bad..

  36. Hi everyone
    I know my question is unrelated but please help if you know the answer.
    I passed my H4 visa interview and going to pick it up,but now I am studying a course and I really really want to finish it.
    I want to know when should I be in the US after getting the visa, or when does it expire?

    please help if you know the answer.

    • Edi:
      H4 visa is dependent of H1B or H type visa ,so your H4 visa will expire when the H1B person’s visa will expire.
      Check the visa page of your supporter.
      Until that H1B is valid your H4 visa is also valid.
      Therefore you can complete your study ,but check the dates on H1B visa page.

  37. i am going with my husband to usa on dependent visa can i do online jobs from home in us which r the right sites i need to enrol pls let me know so that i can also genrate some income and wont be totally dependent on my husband

      • mmm then y give green card to the entire family? isnt that like exploiting one person… come on… all the h4 holders are asking are to make a honest living…… not all the h4 holders are here by their own choice… they sud be given basic benefits… it is not a feminist issue… many countries all around the world does give the option of working to the spouse… y not US?

    • There is a big difference b/w L1 and H1. L1 is an intra-company transfer. It is supposed to be filed when a company wants to transfer a foreign national to their US office and do a job that requires company specific tools etc (it’s another story that companies abuse the system and bring Java developers on L1, which they shouldn’t). It is not considered to be a body replacement. That is why there is no quota on how many L1s can be filed in a year.

      H1 is a body replacement, and subject to numerical quota. The salary needs to be as per prevailing US wages.

      So it may not be a fair to compare L1 to H1, and subsequently L2 to H4.

  38. I am H-4 visa holder from india ,I already knew that what is going to happen after coming to US.Still ,I got married to the H1B guy.
    I was doing my post graduation in India from recognised University(Engg) .My husband told me before marriage- it will be hard to get job in US , So you have to study in US.I was always ready for that.As ,US has set the system for so many years and it must right. My husband believes in US system So do I. I cleared GRE as most of H-4 ladies are enough qualified to do that on their own .Driver’s licence doesn’t matter,there are lots of means of commuting (as US is developed nation)? My problem is not with the US system But,but the mentality of my fellow indian sisters “to give up”.(Don’t give up!!).Some of my sisters feel america is fascinating,so they get married .(Golden rush period is over )
    But, the ground reality is everything is calculated in money. At least here ,I will encourage the Indian women in US to make their volunteer group ,raise funds to support the depressed H-4.Don’t wait for government decisions.Learn from others experiences. Just do it!!!

  39. DD Firstly, don’t just generalize Indians!!
    Secondly, the question here is about the rights given to H4 visa holders. Today, I am on H4 visa for almost a year now. I was actively working before, living a fast NY life.. I lost my job due to bad economy and thats fine because I know I am not the only one going through this situation. But looking at other people I feel bad that at least few are able to do some odd jobs, part time jobs or even they are able to get unemployment benefits which I CANNOT GET EITHER ONE…
    If the rules for H4 visa were to be changed not just based on the whole visa category but on individual basis it would definitely be a different scenario today. I cannot do any part-time jobs because of visa issues.. My husband’s company had a part-time job available but they cannot spend any extra money to sponsor my H1B visa.
    In such a situation do you think its a fair deal with people holding a H4 visa? Why don’t we have some equal rights as others.. we pay our taxes EQUALLY, we pay our bills on time we pay our SS taxes also knowing that we are never going to get it back if we have to leave this country and is this a benefit we get of being so loyal to the country??

  40. DD, you are saying why an unskilled H4 gets a visa if her skilled husband has H1b…
    Can you answer this question?. Why an unskilled L2 wife gets a work-permit if her skilled husband has L1 visa?

    Why discrimination on H1B/H4 alone?

    We are not asking to give the H4 spouse another H1B…we are asking them to give a work-permit (not a skilled labor permit like H1b) so that they can do at least part-time job of their interest…

  41. H4 visas do not only affect Indian women. My husband and I are European and came to the US a few months ago, him being the lucky H1B holder. H1B visas are given ONLY to people with technical degrees – no other company will sponsor you to change your status. I have a MA from my home university and had a career as a self-employed translator, linguist and cultural consultant in the UK. One of the companies I worked for was from the US, but they COULDN’T sponsor me, for I didn’t fulfil the USCIS requirements for H1B. There isn’t any other option for me, plain as that. I have received TWO specialty work offers in the US in the past month, but as soon as I bring up the visa issue, that’s as far as the process goes for me. According to DD, I should have divorced my husband and kept my career in Europe, or I should start studying a degree in Engineering now, in the hope that maybe in five years a company will be interested enough to sponsor me.

    I try to be positive and keep myself busy not working (I’m doing lots of things, actually, and trying to see this period as a long holiday from my former job), but it’s not just the not-working, believe me. It’s not the idleness alone. The feeling of being invisible here is HUGE. I can’t do anything withough my husband. I haven’t been able to even apply for a driver’s learning permit yet, as the State I live in requires me to provide 6 identification points that I do not have (as it happens, my passport+visa+lease+medical insurance are not enough proof of identity for the State).

    • Morti, I understand apart from the point of dependency, the psychological feeling of not having enough visibility is really frustrating. About Drivers’ license permit, honestly, I think you should be eligible. For instance, Check this document from New York State . http://www.nydmv.state.ny.us/forms/id44.pdf
      As the document says, You get 4 points for Passport, 1 point for Health insurance and 1 point for Bank Account/ATM card. Sometimes, you can also get 1 point for utility bill too. You should go to SSN office and get a letter stating that you are not eligible for SSN. Also, if you have ITIN number that helps too. You just need to ask once again…. Stay positive and hopefully you find something good.

    • Hi Morti,

      I am sorry if I offended you (or other people) by my comment/post. And I, in no way, want you to divorce your husband and stay back in Europe. I would hit myself twice before even suggesting such a thing.

      My comment was aimed only at those men who get US degrees and go back home and then marry knowing the fact that it will be difficult for their wife to get a job with sponsorship in the US. SUCH activities should not be done by men. If you read my comment, you will notice this (the conclusion and bulk of my comment – last 2 paragraphs – were aimed at this solely).

      It is obvious that there are other cases, like yours, and I did not comment on them. For example, of course, the discussion in the panel also highlighted that only 75% H4 holders are women, which means 25% must be men. They must not be in the situation I spoke about and I did not comment on them! Also, there are cases when the couple are both on H1-B and one of them loses his/her job, thereby losing H1-B and turning into H4 dependent. Did I suggest that after such a successful marriage, they should divorce because one of them has lost their job? No. Nor did I intend to comment on H4 women in situations like yours (already married or dating and then spouse moves to US on H1-B). I wanted to get my point out to those who go back to their home country after getting H1-B visa from US, then marry and bring a wife knowing that she will be on H4 and hence, dependent. This is common is some societies and people should be discouraged from doing so. However, I agree that I should have clarified this and used a subtler language.

      The I-got-a-job-but-no-sponsorship-hence-rejected issue is applicable to engineering students who study in the US as well! Even after my graduation (and before that), there were so many job interviews that I had scheduled with good companies in engineering. However, even these engineering companies did not agree to sponsor my H1-B visa after appreciating my skills in the interview. Usually, I was contacted, asked if I needed sponsorship and then the interview offer was rejected after hearing that I am an international student. Most of the time, I could not even fill out the job application online because I was an international student. Engineering companies do this as well. Ask anyone else and I am sure they will concur with me. (I do not wish to name any companies here).

      My date (the girl I am dating) is in liberal arts and is finding a tough time to get sponsorship for her visa. I know her situation, see that she is working hard to find a good job and I completely sympathize with her and you and others and understand your point. However, at the same time, we need to think from the US government’s point of view as well, don’t we?

      I also said that there should be flexibility for driver’s license and such rights, if you read the last line in my previous comment. By ‘such rights’, I meant other rights like credit card, bank accounts and other such rights which H1-B holders have, but H4 don’t.

      Again, pardon me if I offended you (or others). Also, good luck in your job search (which will sponsor you)!

      • No offense taken. I just mentioned my case because lots of people truly believe that the H1B is a visa that’s exclusive for Indian citizens and I misunderstood you for one of them.
        It is the US privilege to decide which aliens will be allowed to work and which won’t, absolutely. I didn’t come to this country to complain about not working, I came willingly and knowing I would not be able to perceive a salary. It’s the process of ‘getting into daily life’ that bothers me, for as you surely know you need to provide your SSN even to order a bowl of soup (joke). I see that the visa for H1 dependents is the most unfair of the non-immigrant categories, and the working is just the most visible side of it. Think of a man coming from India (I choose this country to continue with the analogy) on an L1. He might as well get married to bring someone with him, and this person will be allowed to work, no questions asked, be it at Taco Bell’s or somewhere else. As I say, I said I don’t want to complain, but there’s no denying that it bites me to see that and also to see how illegal immigrants *may* be granted some sort of amnesty and legal work status while I, who stick to the rules of this country (and work as a volunteer for an immigrant association), can’t.

  42. My thoughts might sound too harsh to the Indian community in general, but here is my honest opinion:

    Although it is a pity that women on H4 visas are dependent on their husbands, there is nothing that can be done.

    As Ms.Norton (the lady in the pink dress on the panel) correctly pointed out, if Mr.X gets H1B visa, it is given to him because he has a special skill, which the US needs. It would be foolish to say that Mrs.X, just on the basis of being married to him, has that special (or equivalent) skill as well. If she wants to work, she should be on H1B visa as well! But giving work permit to H4 dependents makes no sense. Mrs.X might as well be an illiterate woman. How can we expect her to work in the US? Why will the US allow one more person to join their unemployment lists? If she wants, she should get a real job and get H1B visa. If she is not qualified enough, she won’t get H1B visa…which makes sense, because the US does not want these women to get work permit and start working at Walmarts or serve tacos at Taco Bell! They have plenty of US citizens for it. Why you are allowed work permit is because you have that special skill. And if you think you have that skill, you will manage to get H1B visa for yourself!

    Let’s sit back and think: we call it H4 DEPENDENT visa. When a girl in India marries a guy, she should be aware that she is now going to be DEPENDENT on him for everything in the US! When girls marry guys on H1B visa in hopes of the American dream, they should know what they are getting into. Also, when men on H1B visas marry Indian women and bring them here to the US on H4s, they should think twice before making that decision – in other words, you are just getting a ‘house-wife’ for yourself: someone who will cook for you and maintain your home. Wait! Isn’t that slavery? Is that what you want your ‘life-partner’ and ‘wife’ to be? Do you want to turn your Indian college-educated wife (who has a decent job in India) to turn into a mere slave here?

    Many people will shun me for my opinion, but that’s how the situation is… Of course, I feel pity for these women and would like to encourage everyone not to get into this situation itself! On the other hand, I feel there should be some flexibility in terms of driver’s license and such rights for H4 dependents.

    • DD, it is all about from whose perspective are we looking at the issue. I doubt if US Congress will buy on the idea of giving work permit for H4 because of the current economic situation and constraints on Skilled labor… Honestly, in all reality most of the Indian women do not know the hard reality and they think they will be able to change to H1B visa easily or do some other stuff in US like MS. But, the blatant truth is, it very hard these days and they are so dependent on their spouses. I totally agree with the point of Driver’s license and some other basic things that should be given…I think for the most part you can get Driver’s license and ID, just some paperwork though…

      • But, H4 visa can be converted to F1 visa ,she can study further and can easily get a job. Everyone does like that. I never heard anyone who sits idle with being house wife. Some are getting H1B sopnsership and some studies further and gets easy job as after MS getting job is damn easy in US.

    • DD u seem to have a very narrowed view on this issue… If we go by that logic… Green card sud be given only to the husband and not to the wife… this issue is debatable… have u ever lived in India? do u know the social pressure some of these women are in? all they are asking is some rights…. being a homemaker is not slavery and sometimes people do change their mind… in other countries it is allowed… all they are asking y cant it be done so in the US…. do remember these women are not asking for free food or fee money…. they want to do a honest day’s labour…

      • When H1 is filed, lot of vetting is done by USCIS. This includes employer verification, job verification and alien verification. US government cannot issue work permit to aliens on H4 w/o going through that vetting process. The way out is to file H1 (where all vetting will be done) and then you are good to go.

        The second reason is that US law allows only 65K work permits per year (not counting advanced degree). If H4 work permit is issued along w/ H1, then that means 130K work permits a year (crudely assuming all H4 aliens will opt for work permit).

        The third reason is that foreign nationals are required only for jobs for which companies didn’t find appropriate people in US (at least that’s what the law is). If a person on H4 gets work permit along w/ H1 person, then there is no control what kind of job s/he will do on H4. That is why H1 is the route.

        Having said all that, I do believe that it does injustice to qualified people who were working in India, but end up as housewife or househusband in US. Anyone making that decision (i.e. coming to US on H1 w/ wife/husband on H4) should think about all the scenarios before committing to a US job offer. At times people are short sighted and end up frustrated in US.

        Don’t take me otherwise. My wife who worked for 3 years in India in top MNCs had to stay >1 year on H4, then apply for F1 (finally on OPT now); so I have some first hand experience of what others are feeling. But that’s how the law is, and it’s our responsibility to know the law and then make the right call.


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