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The information on this page is only for dependents of individuals sponsored for H-1B status by Johns Hopkins University.

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(s) will use the H-1B approval notice, and evidence of their relationship to the H-1B principal, to apply for an H-4 visa stamp at a U.S. Consulate abroad.  When the H-4 applicant(s) 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 should grant admission in H-4 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 within the U.S. to H-4 status, or an extension of stay within the U.S of H-4 status. Form I-539 is typically included with the H-1B petition that OIS sends to USCIS. If for any reason you are considering filing an I-539 online or separate from the H-1B petition, you must consult the H-1B advisor assigned to your case *before* filing the I-539. 

Completing Form I-539

ALERT: Starting June 3, 2024, USCIS will only accept the 04/01/2024 edition of Form I-539

First, please carefully read the I-539 instructions

One form I-539, and one filing fee should be submitted per family, regardless of the number of H-4 applicants. Please review the USCIS website for filing fee amount. If there is more than one H-4 applicant, Form I-539A (I-539 instructions) should be completed for each additional applicant (co-applicant).  Check or money order for the I-539 filing fee should be made payable to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security.”

Download & complete Form I-539 (and I-539A(s) if applicable), then print the I-539/I-539A(s) single-sided 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 principal should sign the I-539 in Part 5 “Applicant’s Signature” AND in Part 7, “Signature of person preparing form, if other than above,” indicating “Parent of Minor” in the section titled “Firm Name and Address.”

The original, signed Form I-539 (and I-539A(s) if applicable), I-539 filing fee, and supporting documents** should be sent to the H-1B advisor who has been assigned the H-1B case. When your H-1B case is assigned to an advisor, you will receive an email from with subject line “H-1B Case Assigned to OIS Advisor.”   Please contact the advisor named in that email for their mailing address.

** We also encourage applicants to send Form G-1145 with Form I-539. The G-1145 is used to request an electronic notification (e-Notification) when USCIS accepts the I-539 form for processing. **

**Please refer to the Dependent Checklist for a list of required supporting documents.