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Can H4 Visa Holder Study in US? In-state Tuition? Advantages?

Once you arrive in US on a H4 Visa as a dependent, unless you are eligible and can apply for H4 EAD, you cannot work. It can be frustrating to sit home. Many plan to pursue higher studies like MS or MBA in US. Many wonder, if they can study on H4 visa in the first place and what are the advantages and disadvantages. This article will focus on all such aspects of studying in US as H4 visa holder.

Why H4 Visa holders wish to study MS or MBA in USA ?

H4 Visa is a dependent visa and does not provide work options for everyone. When H4 holders arrive in US as spouse of H1B visa holder, they are pretty much dependent on their spouse for everything. Most of them may have had a professional career and have dreams to work and contribute to society. It can be frustrating to sit at home and do nothing. Below are some of the common reasons H4 visa holders aspire to study MS  or MBA in US.

  • Young educated professionals who are married to H1B holders in US are ambitious and would like to pursue higher education to reach their education goals, get a job in US after that.
  • One of the other significant reasons is that many of H4 holders cannot work as many of them may not qualify and Apply for H4 EAD to work in US
  • Most of the young professional women are so bored at home and they are having hard time adjusting from their busy work life before marriage and slow housewife life staying at home. They want to keep themselves busy and get education instead of wasting time sitting at home.
  • Some of them see the advantages of going back to school and maybe taking advantage tuition fee related advantages, if they qualify.
  • Also, H1B spouses want their dependents to get adjusted to the environment, culture and lifestyle in US and school would be good place to get accustomed to the society.

Besides the above, US is one the best places to study as it has some of the top class universities and education experience can be great. It can help shape up professional life in US in the future for H4 visa holder.

In-state tuition Eligibility for H4 visa holders to Study in US ?

Depending on the University you plan to join, you may have two kinds of fees : In-state or Out-of-State Tuition fee. The fee difference can be significant, if you have to pay out-of-state tuition fee. In-state tuition fee is only available in State Universities. Private schools do not have the concept of out of state vs in-state fee. Example, if you go to Harvard or MIT, you do not get in-state tuition as they are private universities.

State Universities offer in-state tuition fee for its residents in the state. The fee that residents pay would be typically half of the out-of-state tuition fee. The good thing with in-state tuition fee is that its eligibility is based how long you are living in the state and if you have paid taxes. To get in-state you do not have to be a US citizen.

In general, most of the work visa types like H1B or L1 and their dependents on H4 or L2 can qualify for in-state tuition, if they meet the residency requirements ( how long you stayed in the state). So, in-state tuition fee option is available for H4 visa holders, if they meet the requirements.

The residency requirements to get in-state tuition vary by state. The general rule of thumb is, if you have physically lived in the state for one year or more and paid taxes, you would be eligible for in-state tuition fee. You need to always check with school as this may be slightly different based on state and school you plan to attend.

Requirements to get In-state Tuition for H4 Holders

In-state tuition eligibility can vary by state and the school you plan to attend, so you should always check with the school. Having said that, below are the typical requirements that needs to be fulfilled by H4 visa holder.

  • Married to H1B Visa holder and on dependent H4 Visa for at least one year.
  • Lived in the State along with H1B holder for at least one year to meet the residency requirement
  • H1B visa holder paid taxes in the state with dependent status.

Documents Checklist to get In-state Tuition for H4 Visa

There are two things that States usually look at: relationship proof for H1B holder, Residency requirements. Below are the documents for the same.

Relationship Evidence to H1B holder

  • Marriage Certificate for proof of marriage
  • Any other proofs like endorsement in Passport (optional).

Residency Requirements

  • Your arrival info in state like Flight Tickets, or any other reservations
  • Rental agreements can also help establish that you were in state
  • Credit card or debit card statements with transactions
  • Bank Account statements with address of home
  • Driving License in the state
  • State ID card
  • Tax filing documents like W2 forms
  • If you have a car, its registration documents in the state

It is important for the H4 visa holder to start and get in lease or get state ID so that you have proofs for residency.

In-state Requirements from few States for H4 holder

Below are the residency requirements from few of the states related to H4 Visa Holder.

It is recommend that you check with the School you plan to apply on the residency requirements and in-state before you finalize the schools.

Advantages of Studying in US on H4 Visa

Below are some the main advantages of studying on H4 Visa

  • If you meet the requirements as listed above for in-state tuition, the biggest advantage is tuition fee savings. Your total tuition is less than one half. You will save at least 50 – 60 % of tuition or more depending on the tuition fee structure. Imagine the fee is like $20,000 for out-of-state students, you would pay more or less $10,000 getting in-state tuition fee.
  • You can study full time and do not worry about working during studying. Your husband pays for your school and you get all the time in the world to study and focus on education.
  • If you have worked in your home country for some time, you may have an advantage over others in terms of grasping subjects quickly and performing better.
  • Once you graduate with Masters Degree like MS or MBA, you will be eligible for US masters quota cap when they file H1B visa to work in US. In general, there are additional 20,000 H1B visa slots reserved for US Masters category. As we have H1B Registration Lottery process now, it will help you with the luck of getting selected with US Masters.

Disadvantages of Studying on H4 visa in US

  • You will not be able to work On-Campus and may not be able to utilize the opportunities of TA, RA or GA funding options of University. The reason is most of them are given to full time F1 visa students.
  • You will not be able to work on CPT as F1 students.
  • You will not be eligible to get OPT (Optional Practical Training) to work for one year after graduation like F1 students.
  • If your masters degree belongs to STEM category, you will not be able to use the 24 month extension of OPT for STEM Degrees
  • If you do not meet the H4 in-state tuition requirements, you will have to wait for one year to meet the requirements. This is one year waste of time !

How to prepare for In-state Tuition eligibility for H4 Visas

Make sure you follow the below steps after you move to a new state, so that you do not regret after one year of stay for in-state tuition purpose.

  • Get a state drivers license in the first week or 10 days.
  • Register your Car and get State registration number plate in 10 days
  • Make sure you have your rental lease agreement on your name.
  • If you are a consultant, make sure you are paying taxes to the state you are living in, you must file taxes at end of year and have copy of W2 for future reference.
  • Open a bank account in the state, if you can.

Hopefully, you got a good idea on H4 visa holder education in US with a gist of advantages and disadvantages. You have to carefully decide and talk to school DSO that  you are applying to before you jump into any conclusions.  You will not get any in-state tuition in Private schools !

How to pay for Education ? Loan to study on H4 visa ?

If you are passionate to study, but do not have money or you do not have credit history to take loan to study, it can be very frustrating. Luckily, one of the promising Y-Combinator funded fin-tech startups founded by international students, has an option to support H4 visa holders to get education loan. You or your spouse can apply and get loan for education in US.  You can get loan anywhere from $1,000 USD  to $35,000 USD depending on your eligibility, even without credit history. You also build credit history, if you get loan approved. We have partnered with them, you can Apply for H4 Study Education Loan at Stilt

What has been your experience ?  Did you get in-state tuition ? Share your experience.

Image Credits : http://www.flickr.com/photos/bdwaydiva1/2676105374/


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  1. I did my bachelors in 2012 in India and came to USA in 2013 on H4 ..I don’t have any working experience but I did one course on Devops in 2018 in India .
    Now I have h4 ead and just wondering which one is good pursuing masters after 8 years of getting bachelors degree or searching for a job through any consultants in USA on h4 ead with course (devops)certificate..?? Please suggest me

    • Swathi,
      You need to look at what job you want to do and does education help you get that job ? If getting Masters is not going to help, then it is of no use right ?
      You can also consider getting nano degrees offered by Udacity : https://www.udacity.com/nanodegree, that are focused on specific topic.
      Now-a-days they look at, if you can do the job vs. whether you have Masters or not… Think about it, talk to few recruiters too and then take a call.

  2. My Wife has H4 EAD and a Masters from US, during which she used up her OPT. Now, if she get an MBA while keeping the H4 visa, will she be allowed to work, since, she has the H4EAD and does not need the OPT or CPT?

    • Saransh,
      Yes, she can. The ability to work is by visa status. The OPT is only given for F1 students, now she is on H4…her visa is tied to you.. As she has H4 EAD, she is free to work or study and do both. You should inform the same to the school as well.

  3. I lived in the State of NC for almost 5 years and just recently moved to another state. Do I have to be currently in NC to take advantage of the in-state tuition fees for my wife who is on H4? Or is my wife still entitled to the in-state tuition fee as I have been there and paid taxes for 5 years?

    • Akash,
      As you are not a US citizen, you may need to live there to get in-state. These vary by state and I suggest you check with the DSO as they would be the one, who will do the assessment and tell you, if you qualify.

      • Hi, Thanks for the post.
        If I have EAD, Is it possible that I am eligible for CPT, OPT, TA and RA?
        Also, I don’t have car or licence which is mentioned by you inorder to get in sate waiver, but my spouse is living in the state for 4 years. Will that be enough for me to get fee waiver?
        Also, please, let me know if joining in January intake with H4 EAD is fine or has any disadvantages ove r Fall intake?

        • Yes, you can work on the same, if you can get it. As long as there is some proof that tells you are in the state along with your spouse, it should be sufficient. I suggest you reach out to the DSO and Office of Financial aid and clarify, if you would get it before you plan anything as it varies by state. Not many disadvantages, if you are already here in US…Read Fall vs Spring Advantages Disadvantages

  4. I am on h4 visa live in California I came here in august…..I have done BE and M.tech in ECE…I have one year experience in dotnet field…I am not interested in MBA or MS….I am waiting for my h4 ead if I get ead also it’s difficult to find job here can you suggest me what are the options to get job once I get EAD…..any local training courses help me if so how to go through it?

  5. If i leave for US – Houston on H4 visa by march 2020, will i be eligible to get the in state tution fee to start my MS by JAN 2021? please help me out with this.

    • Hi… my name is dips i m here H4 EAD I’ll complete my B. Tech (EEE) degree in 2014 in India … I don’t have any work experience. Now I’m planning to study here but my English is not too good that’s why I’m confused what can I do for here study or any job oriented course…. can u plss give me good suggestions

  6. I am currently on h1b visa in Austin. My wife will be joined me in the USA on H4 visa in June 2019. She will be starting her MS for Fall 2019 at UTA on H4 visa(full tuition). Can we get in-tuition from Fall 2020(after 1 year) ?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Well, it all varies by state. I would suggest you check with UT Austin to give them guidance. Call their admissions, check https://admissions.utexas.edu/residency

  7. Hi,
    I moved to the US last September on H4 visa. I have a IELTS score of 8. I have work experience in India. I am a BE, MBA. Please suggest good studying options for me. Is it better to go for MS – PhD or a management PhD? What are the prospects of admission with my visa? Will my IELTS score help me? Please guide me.

    • Saumya,
      It all depends on what are your goals for the long term. Ask yourself, where do you see yourself in next 10 years…You already have an MBA, if you like business side of things, then you can consider PhD in business area…But PhD has a different purpose, usually for research, teaching or any advanced specialization…it can take up to 5 years for some of them in US. So, think through your options and make an informed decision. Go and talk to few schools by scheduling appointments with the dean, admissions to get an idea of the program, they will help you give the reality.

  8. Hi there,

    I am currently working on H4 EAD,passionate on studying Masters, if company willing to pay for education reimbursement /sponsorship.
    1. Whats the options?
    2. Is H4EAD can work and study simultaneously if their company agrees?
    3. Do they need to change their visa from H4EAD to F1?

    Please help whats the advantages and disadvantages at this moment.

  9. Hello Kumar,

    I have got 5 years BA experience in my country. I came to US on H4 Visa 2 years ago. I am deeply skeptical about getting back to work after 6 years of gap in my professional career. I am thinking to apply for masters degree here. Will I able to close my loan for studying masters before going back to my home country (my spouse have remaining 4 years H1B sponsorship)
    Is it worth studying now ?

    Thanks in advance

    • Well, studying masters on F1 visa or H4 visa ? Doing Masters does not get you a job…If you are keen on studying, you can change to F1 visa, study and then work on OPT, STEM OPT extension and then close out loans, if you get a job. Again, just doing Masters and having OPT will not get you jobs…it just gives you an option to work as student on OPT.

  10. Hi Kumar
    Thanks for the Info

    I completed my Degree in Bcs and MBA in HR and had work experience of 3yrs in my country but i have education gap during my graduation And I came to US(Texas) 8 months back on H4. Now I am Planning to do MS Am I eligible to apply.Can anyone guide me further.

    • Poonam,
      Yes, you are eligible to apply. Gaps in education does not matter. Pick a good school that you are interested in and then check the requirements. You will probably need to write GRE, TOEFL as needed.

      • One of the things you can do is find out the State Schools in California and look up on their financial aid website or call, email them…

    • Hi Poonam, Even i am in the same situation i did my MBA in India can i pursue MS. Did you went through the admission process. Can you suggest.

  11. Hello .. my husband recently got residency of internal medicine on h1b visa and I am a doctor as well but not Ecfmg certified . I don’t want to sit idle at home and want to do some thing related to my field medicine or either study more like do masters. Can u tell guide me that Can I apply for instate tuition ? When not Ecfmg certified . What are my further requirements ?

    • You can consider studying at University on H4 visa. Regarding in-state, it is available only in state schools and you need to be in the state for at least 1 year and paid taxes. Check with the state schools in your area regarding eligibility. Alternatively, you can switch to F1 status and see, if there are chances of funding at the school to get in-state tution waiver like TA, RA or GA with Funding

  12. Thank you very much Kumar for this article. It was very helpful.
    H4 visa holders with more than One year of stay in USA with relevant documents is eligible for in-state tuition fee at University of Texas at Arlington (UTA).
    Here is the link for more details. https://www.uta.edu/admissions/freshmen/apply/residency.php

  13. Hi Kumar,

    My wife is coming to US in H4 Visa by first week of October. She’s planning to enroll in USF in Florida. I’m in Florida for last 3 years with valid DL, house lease & tax documents. I’m planning to get Driving License for my wife once she arrives in US & open a savings bank account. Whether she’ll be eligible for in-state tuition fees if she joins college for Spring 2019.

  14. My wife is on H4 and we are looking to enroll for MS program due to lack of good colleges in our state of NV we are looking at universities out-of -state. Due to this we are looking at online programs offered by public universities. We are aware that F1 students cannot do online programs is there such restrictions for enrollment for students on H4 status. Secondly, can we apply for OPT (she has never used OPT in USA) after completion of her MS since this is an online program? What criteria is required for applying for OPT after MS completion.

    • Yes, she will be eligible for CPT / OPT, if she moves to F1 status. You need to check with the school on the specifics of the program and the eligibility of the same for OPT/ CPT.

  15. Hi,
    I was on H1B visa and worked in US for 1.5 yrs. My visa extension was rejected and i had to come back to india. Visa was rejected saying that i dont have 4 yrs bachelors degree or any US degree. I have Bachelors degree in commerce and have 10 + yrs of exp in Software QA Manual & Automation. Now i am travelling back to the US on H4 visa.
    Any chances of getting a H1B visa if i do any online certification or online Masters degree?

  16. Hi,
    I have H4 visa but not H4 EAD(still I140 is pending).I have done Masters from IIT in India and I want to work in USA.
    Could you please tell me how can I pursue a job.I don’t have GRE or TOEFL score.Currently I am staying in USA.I don’t want to do MS as I already have masters degree.Could you suggest some way to get work permit(may be by doing some short courses).

  17. Hi,

    My name is Supriya. Presently I am on h4 status. I have done bachelor in ECE and

    masters in VLSI & ES in India. I am thinking to get MS or graduate certification course

    (duration is 1year with 4 courses and fee is $20000). So could you please recommend me

    which is better.

    Thank you.

    • If you really want to study and passionate about it, I would recommend getting an MS degree. While certifications are good, they may or may not add lot of weight on your resume.

  18. Hi
    I am A H4 visa holder , and I am planning to further study in interior design & architecture , can someone pls let me know if I need to take any particular entrance criteria and under which visa category does interiors and architecture comes ??


  19. Hi, my wife is on h4 status in Virginia for 3years, can she start school here? She is only having 10+2 and has a long gap of at least 10 years in her studies.

  20. Hi Kumar
    Thanks for the Info.
    I have 4 years of work experience in my home country and also I have done my MBA silmultaneously. I came to US last year on H4 visa and now I’m planning to join school for MS.
    I stay in NJ , in one for your comments I read that in NJ we are not eligible for in state tuition. So do I have any other alternative?
    –>also if I join college in fall 2018 when can I apply for F1 status change ??
    –> do we required to take GRE/TOFEL or any other screenings before or after applying for H4 to F1status change and before joining college??
    –> is it better to do MS online or on campus?

    • – Double check with a state school on the in-state rule in NJ, to be safe and for confirmation sake.
      – You can do it right away as soon as school starts, speak to DSO at school.
      – GRE, TOEFL are for admission and does not have any relation to your H4 to F1 status change. They are required for getting admission.
      – I would always do it on-campus.

      Also, frankly you already have an MBA, not sure why you want to do another MS online or on-campus, unless there is a real need or passion to something new. If you are clear on your goals and passionate about higher education, then only pursue it…

      • okay..
        as you said –“– GRE, TOEFL are for admission and does not have any relation to your H4 to F1 status change. They are required for getting admission.”
        so for a H4 visa holder to get admission in any university is it required for us to take GRE, TOEFL??

        Thanks for your suggestion, but I really don’t want to sit idle at home and frankly I don’st see any other options than going for MS so that atleast I’ll have a work permit after a year or 2. If you can guide or suggest me on this it would be really a great help.
        Thanks a ton 🙂

        • Admission process is same for anyone, either international on H4 or F1…even, if you are citizen, the only variant is TOEFL.
          Well, you can try looking for options to work at a community college, Universities or any other research institution that are sponsor you cap exempt H1B visa…it is not easy to find them, but better than going through everything all over again.

  21. I completed my MBA in HR and had work experience of 3yrs in my country.And I came to US 2yrs back on H4.Now want to do my PhD in US.Am I eligible to apply.Can anyone guide me further.

    • You are eligible to study PhD, provided you take the relevant tests like GRE, TOEFL. Take time to think about why you want to do PhD and the area that interests you. It is a long 5 year commitment and you need to be really ready for it. You can speak to a school nearby and get their guidance to make sure, if it is for you or not.

  22. Hi Kumar
    Thanks for the wonderful blog. I am Anagha. I am on H4 EAD currently. I will be starting my coursework at SFSU this(2018) fall. I plan to stay on H4 so that I can get the in state tuition. My course requires 1 year of internship, probably its considered CPT. Can I use my EAD for the internship? or should I switch to F1? What department/personnel at university should I contact about this? Thanks in advance for the help.

    • You should be able to use H4 EAD for working as there are no restrictions, no need to switch to F1. You should speak to your DSO as they are the best ones to guide on immigration. You can also speak to career services to get idea, but they may or may not know on the immigration aspects.

  23. Hi,

    Can H-4 visa take admission in online MS degree? Like full time student and then change status to F-1 by applying to COA and continue with online degree?

    • Online education is very tricky with immigration. I would suggest, you check with DSO at the school you plan to study. Usually studying is fine, but if you want to change to F1, then there are some guidelines, that’s why you need to check.

  24. Dear Kumar
    wonderful info.

    We are in California on H1B. My son is 2000 Oct born and is on H4.
    We came here to US in 2017 August in my son’s Junior Year. He will go to college in 2019 in H4. I assume he will be eligible for in-state tuition in UCs.
    He can continue the same till 2021 Oct when he turns 21. Post that he has to apply for COS and move to F1. For last two years of college he loses H4 status and has to be in F1 and will lose in-state. Is my understanding correct?

    • Yes in general, but it all varies by state. I would suggest you speak to the DSO and Financial aid division of the school and get clarity on the same.

    • Hi

      IAM currently on H4 visa for more than 4 years and have EAD but am not working.I would like to apply for MS. What are the things required to apply ? ( Like exams and documents for colleges)
      I don’t have Driving License
      I Have joint account in bank
      No House leasing on my name
      Where do I get information about all these?


      • You need to check the school for the requirements. Usually it would be GRE, TOEFL. You do not need any of these. You will probably need to submit your status document like H4 documents to DSO and maybe your Spouse’s H1B info and your income tax filings from spouse, if you want to claim in-state. Speak to the financial aid office in the school you plan to apply, you will get all of this info.

  25. Hello All,

    I am staying in US on H4 visa and planning to get enrolled myself in MS by fall 2018. Am i eligible for applying OPT if I complete my studies in H4 itself ?

    Or Do i need to be in F1 while applying OPT ? If yes is there any specific period of time that I have to be in F1 before applying for OPT ?

    Please clarify

    Thanks in advance!

  26. Hi Kumar,

    Thanks for sharing the information. I have a question regarding the travel outside USA. I joined MBA right now on H4 and planning to go out of country. So will I have any issues if I do that. Also if I carry the required H1 documents It should be fine or should I carry any other additional documents. Is it a good idea to travel now then?.

    I am also planning to transfer to F1 after coming back. I can’t apply right now because I have to give I94 and other information because they will change after entering back into the country. Is that right what I said?. How long does it take on average for the transfer to happen?.

    • You should be fine to travel on H4, just carry all documents of your status. You can apply for change of status (COS) anytime, but if you move to F1, then when you return you need to have valid F1 visa stamped on your passport to re-enter US, that’s the trick. You need to work with your school DSO to apply for COS. The processing time can take few weeks to few months, it is hard to say…there is no premium processing as well for COS.

      • Hi Kumar,

        Currently i am on H4 from last one year, now i am planning to join college. Can i change from H4 to F1 to get the CPT by staying in US? or i have to go back to india and apply for F1?

        Need your inputs

        • Rani, to get CPT, it totally varies by school and it can be either from from semester or after 2 semesters. You do not have to go back to India. You can apply for Change of status. Work with DSO at the school you plan to study. If you need to leave country and re-enter, then you will need to get F1 visa stamping done.

  27. Hi,
    Thank you for a great post.

    I am currently on H-4 with EAD and am applying for fall 2018 MBA. I want to know if I should change my status from H-4 to F-1 after admit or next year, given the instability of EAD, so that I can apply for internships in 2019? Please advice when should I apply for F-1 or should I just stick with H-4?


  28. Hi Kumar,
    Hope you are doing good !
    I joined MS program in spring 2017 and I have H4-EAD which will expire in June 2018. I was planning to get it extended along with my spouse visa extension. I am currently giving interviews for summer internship.Looking at current political scenario could you please suggest what would be the process for COS to F1? I have still 1 year of studies left. Please let me know your views.
    Thanks !

    • Arti,
      Until the rule is published and becomes a final rule, you will have time. it is too early to speculate on the timing. Once the final rule is published, you can plan for F1, if needed. But, you may NOT be able to work if you are on F1 and may not get CPT/OPT, if you join late. So, I would recommend you check with your DSO on your options and your eligibility to get OPT and CPT. If they say, you need to join now to get CPT and OPT, then you need to look at pros and cons and make a decision.

  29. Hey, I want to attend Rutgers university. I’ve lived in the state for 5-6 yrs now. My dad is on H1B and supports our family (all on H4). I’m currently studying at a community college (I have to transfer for fall 2018; need to apply by feb) and many of my friends have told me that H4 visa students can get instate fees. I’d emailed the transfer department at Rutgers regarding this matter to which they replied not to go by word of the mouth. Do you happen to know any alternative?

  30. Hi,
    Why do you suggest exactly 7-10 days after moving to a new state to get a state drivers license and/or a state registration number plate? It could take more time than that, right?

    • Jennifer,
      I meant to say, apply for it within the first week or 10 days. Yes, you are right, it will take another week to get yours after applying.

  31. Hi,

    I have completed 4 semesters doing MS in h4 VISA and parallely tried for H1b in 2017 but though it got picked in lottery, the petition has been denied now. What is the best option for me going forward. I am planning to shift to F1 status within my school and see I become eligible for OPT. How early can I become eligible for this? Also, can I try H1B again in 2018 April if I change my status now to F1? Or is there a better option I should pursue? Thanks so much in advance

    • Well, you need to check with school to clarify on the OPT eligibility, even if you move to F1, as they may have specific requirements, especially as you have already completed 4 semesters. You can always try for H1B for next year. You can continue to pursue your higher education on H4 and see, if your spouse gets closer in the GC process and see your eligibility for H4 EAD, so that you can work….

      • Hi,
        Thank you for your advice.
        I checked with the college and they said I can transfer to F1 but will need to be on that status for 12 months to be eligible for OPT.

        Is it right that I won’t be able to apply for H1b lottery in April 2018 if I change my status now. Would you know what is the process on change from h4 to F1.

        Also, will I be eligible for CPT during this 1 year F1 wait?

        Thanks so much!

        • You can apply for H1B in 2018, your current status does not matter. You should check with the school on the process to do COS as you will need documents from them, also USCIS site has COS details. Again, CPT rules vary by school. In general, for most of the schools, you need to be on F1 status for two semesters to be able to be eligible for CPT, but again few schools offer from beginning, it totally depends on school.

  32. Hi,
    Its been an year staying in US on h4 visa, and my husband(H1-B) is been trying to get his green card initiated but no luck yet. I had a plan to write GRE/TOEFEL and pursue MS but I am currently 7 months pregnant. I am still looking forward to appear for GRE and probably get admission in any in state college. Are there certain Universities/Colleges which provide part time MS in such scenarios? Or if there are any other short term courses and if we can still get OPT? Please help. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    • Somya,
      Usually, all the schools are very flexible with course load. It is up to you as student. You can take up one or two courses and do it part time. The degree does not say anything like part time or full time. So, nothing to worry. If you stay on H4, you can do it part time. But, the moment you go to F1 visa status, then you have to take full time load. So, you should be fine to take courses and in slow pace.

  33. Hello Experts,

    My daughter is transferring to a US college from India. She currently has H4 and EAD. She will lose her H4 when she turns 21 in April 2018 but she has EAD because of pending I485. Is she eligible for student loans from credit unions, banks etc. Can she get a loan by herself or should I take a loan out and finance her studies. Which option is more cost effective.


    • Arun,
      In general, you will be eligible for education loans, if you are a Green Card holder or Citizen. Some do give loans with co-signer. This has to be checked with the bank…If she can get a loan in US, that will always be cheaper. Check for options. Also, you can read this article How to pay education loan to get some idea, at the end we talk about other options

  34. hi, how are you?

    I am a h4 holder. My question is what if i lived in the USA for 1.5 years, but at my state right now which i want to get a master degree’s school, i only lived here for 1 month. Does that passable for me to get a in state tuition?

    Thank you!

  35. Hi,

    I moved to USA on Jan 2016 to New York and worked for 1.5 years. Recently I got converted into H4 Visa and I am staying in Houston currently.

    Will I be eligible for in state tuition advantages?
    Overall I stayed around 1.9 years in united states but not in the same state. How does it work for me?

  36. Iam studying b tech final.i got married .my husband is working in u.s.after b tech i want to study m.s .after b tech i will go by h4 visa.I am able to study

    • Information stated is misleading not to mention wrong. I have checked with the Rutgers office of admissions which stated that only GC holders or US citizens are eligible for in state tuition

      Please check your facts before posting as many people rely on this site for making decisions

      • Rick,
        It is not misleading info, most of the states do offer in-state tuition for H4 spouses, if they qualify the requirement. Of course, there are always some states that are exceptions, which is NJ in your situation. We have not explicitly written about NJ in-state in the article to mislead anyone. You can check the links on the page that talks about h4 eligibility of in-state.

        • Hi Kumar,

          Do you know any state offers In-state tuition for H4 visa holders?

          I have checked AZ, CA and NJ. None of them provides In-state tuition even though you stayed there for many years 🙁


          • Paul,
            Not sure, how well you checked. CA offers it. Check UC Berkeley : https://registrar.berkeley.edu/tuition-fees-residency/residency-tuition-purposes/immigration ( check under eligible non-immigrant visas, it has H-4 listed )

  37. such a wonderful blog..keep up your good work. As one of our friends above asked, my question is also the same.
    Can we do a short term (atleast 1yr) certificate course to get eligible for OPT. Because I already have my M.Tech degree and not interested in doing a 3 yr or 2 yr MS. And I am just looking for a part time eligibility job(knew PT or FT doesnt make any difference). As far as my search I see some universities provide extension courses. Do you have any idea on these ?? Is it worth doing a certification to gain employment??

  38. I am looking for possible courses for my wife, who is a Masters in English literature from BHU, India. I live in Dallas, Texas so looking for nearby universities. I have spent around 1.5 years in Dallas and paid my taxes here. So I assume I should be able to get benefit utilize in-state fee.

  39. Thank you very much for the useful information.. I have small question regarding Master’s degree for H4 dependent. Do we need to write any Test or do we need to have TOEFL score to get admission for MS into state university?

    • Jyothika,
      Your visa status has nothing to do with admission. You will need to take all the required tests that the University has for admission. if they require GRE for admission, then you need to take it. For TOEFL, you can speak to the university and may get waiver, if they believe that you have been in US and comfortable with American english. Check with the schools you plan to apply for precise list of tests needed.

  40. hi i got M.E (Ece dept & also a rank holder in master degree)i came us in h4 visa in mar 17. wish to work here. few of my frends says hav to apply for EAD for job. but some telling that green card have to get process for applying EAD. suggest me how i can get job. whether any short time courses possible to get job easier. pls help me

    • Maha, you can get EAD for H4 only if Green card process has been initiated for your Spouse. In that Green card process, your spouse must get his i140 approved. Only then you are eligible for H4 EAD.
      If you are not eligible for EAD, you need to look for an employer who could sponsor Visa for you and then on approval of the visa, you can start working.

  41. I have few queries regarding H4 and converting to F1

    1) How to avoid in-state fee? what are the things i need to do immediately after coming to US?
    Also, will I be able to void in-state fee even i apply to any other University like i stay in michigan now,but i would like apply to other universities as well which are not in MI. What is the case here?
    2) When is it ideal to convert to F1 from H4. Like I came to know that we dont need an I20 if we are on H4 and could show residency. Is this true?
    3) I have Master’s(in EE) already. But i would like to do another Masters(Wireless/Signal processing/telecommunication) before i go for Phd. Any suggestion on what are the rules to get double Masters.

  42. Hi, I am on H4 visa currently and planning to apply for MS degree of next year Spring, as I am looking for In State tuition fee advantage, in University Of Washington. As per the requirement for in state tuition fee of University Of Washington, applicant should have got one of the driver’s license or state ID within 30 days of arrival but I happened to apply for the state ID late and applied it this week, whereas I arrived Washington in February 2017.

    Could you please let me know if I can still apply for in state tuition fee for Spring(March) quarter 2018 on basis of my leasing document and I94 which states that I am in Washington from Feb 2017 or I need to wait for Admissions in Aug 2018 till one year is over as per my state id?

    • Vineeta,
      It is always upto the discretion of the University. The whole reason they want to have one of that is to verify that you were in the state since then so that they can validate your residence. I would suggest you speak to the University in person and see if they can accommodate your request. You can offer to share your lease agreement, yours and your husbands tax returns, etc that can help verify the same. Again, it is always upto the discretion of the University…

  43. Hello kumar,
    I m in H4 STATUS.As per current scenario /job market doing masters in h4 or f1 will land full-time jobs and sponsorship?I am not eligible either for instate tuition fee nor H4-ead currently.Which would be safer to study in h4 or f1 to get job opportunities?Kindly help.

    • ritha,

      I have always preferred to education on F-1 rather than on H-4 as that opens the channel to apply for OPT and your own H-1 in AD category. This way your visa and spouse’s visa are mutually exclusive and one can rely on the other if something happens to one’s visa. If you remain on H-4 and get EAD and spouse’s H-1 runs into issue, it would impact you as well.

      • Thanks Saurabh.Traveling with F1 towards H1b would be better.But is this really true ” getting a job in H4EAD is easier since it requires no sponsorship?”

        • Ritha,

          Working on H-4 EAD does open-up lot of options. While on F-1/OPT you are limited to job related to your F-1 study. While on H-4 EAD, you can work in any job – right from 7/11 clerk to an IT engineer.

  44. Hi,
    I am in H4 visa, I plan to join Masters in Fall 17 (STEM Course) but I am not eligible for instate tuition fee currently.I would qualify for Instate tuition from Spring 17.I would also qualify for H4 EAD in Fall 18. Should I convert from h4 to f1 (now to gain opt/cpt benefits) or Getting a job through H4 EAD is easier as visa sponsorship is not necessary as per current scenario?

  45. Which universties accept my h4 visa for degree course in dallas. I enquired alot for this. But im not happy with there respones. Plz suggest me

    • PrabhA,
      Your visa status does not have anything do with admission. Once you get admission, you can study on H4. Schedule an in-person appointment with Universities regarding admission, they will definitely help you and address your questions.

      • No they are taking f1 visa not h4 vida. Please suggest me any degree college in dallas which they take h4 visa students.

        • We do not advise on schools. But, I do not see any reason for not taking H4 visa holders. You will NOT get an I20 as you will be on H4 status, you are as good as a normal US citizen kind of student…The school does not need to give you an I20 as you are not on F1, you will just need to submit a copy of your H4 to the DSO for reference.I am not sure, what’s the confusion. Speak to few of the schools in person.

  46. Hi,

    Thanks for sharing this information. I have a question related to scholarships.

    Is an H4 Visa Holder eligible for scholarships ?

    Looking forward to your response.

  47. Hi Kumar,

    Thanks for sharing this across. I needed some information regarding Scholarships.

    Is an H4 Visa Holder eligible for scholarships ?

    Looking forward to your response

    • Hi, did you get an answer to this question? I am offered a scholarship in a private university while I am in H4 provided I do some learning program for a few hours a week. Do you think it is legitimate?

  48. MAY 4, 2017 19:46:35 CDTREPLY
    Hi ,
    I have got my h1b approved on oct 2016 but due to personal reasons i changed my status to h4.
    1. Presently i am thinking of higher studies MS so my question is , should i study on h4 visa and then try getting job on h1 cap exempt or should i convert to f1 visa.
    2. Seecondly will it be a wise decision to take certificate courses on h4 and then go for job on h1b cap exempt

    I do have a career gap of 2 years so need a fresh start

  49. Hi ,
    I have got my h1b approved on oct 2016 but due to personal reasons i changed my status to h4.
    1. Presently i am thinking of higher studies MS so my question is , should i study on h4 visa and then try getting job on h1 cap exempt or should i convert to f1 visa.
    2. Seecondly will it be a wise decision to take certificate courses on h4 and then go for job on h1b cap exempt

    I do have a career gap of 2 years so need a fresh start


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