Eligibility for H-4 Status
Legally married spouses and unmarried children (under the age of 21) are eligible for H-4 status. H-4 status is dependent on the H-1B principal’s status. Should the H-1B status end, H-4 status also ends.
Obtaining H-4 Status
From outside the U.S.: The H-4 applicant will use the H-1B approval notice to apply for an H-4 visa stamp at a U.S. Consulate abroad. When the H-4 applicant enters the U.S. with the valid H-4 visa and the H-1B approval notice, the officer at the U.S. port of entry will grant admission in H4 status.
From inside the U.S.: Form I-539 must be filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to request a change of status to H-4 or to extend current H-4 status. Form I-539 is typically included with the H-1B petition that OIS sends to USCIS.
Completing Form I-539 [Important Change Effective March 11, 2019*]
Complete ONE Form I-539 and submit ONE filing fee of $370 per family regardless of the number of H-4 applicants. The filing fee must be paid by a check or money order made payable to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security.”
Complete Form I-539 online, then print the I-539 and have the eldest H-4 applicant sign in black pen. If all dependents applying for H-4 status are minors (under the age of 18 years), the H-1B applicant should sign the I-539 in Part 5 “Applicant’s Signature” AND Part 7, “Signature of person preparing form, if other than above”, indicating “Parent of Minor” in the section entitled “Firm Name and Address.”
USCIS published a revised Form I-539 on March 8, 2019 (to be submitted by the primary H-4 applicant) and a new Form I-539A (to be submitted for each H-4 co-applicant). Additionally, USCIS will implement a biometrics requirement. Each applicant must pay a biometrics services fee of $85 when submitting Form I-539, and if applicable, Form I-539A. Once the forms are accepted by USCIS, the applicant(s) will be given an appointment date and time to appear at a USCIS office closest to their address for a biometrics services appointment.
The original, signed Form I-539, I-539A [if applicable], $370 filing fee, $85 biometrics fee(s) and supporting documents should be sent to the OIS at the address below. Please refer to the Dependent Checklist for a list of required supporting documents.
The Dependent Checklist and mailing instructions are only for dependents of individuals sponsored for H-1B status by Johns Hopkins University.
H4 applications (I-539, and I-539A(s), if applicable), filing fee(s) and supporting documents should be sent to:
Johns Hopkins University: OIS
1620 McElderry Street
Reed Hall, Suite 405
Baltimore, MD 21205