Traveling With Your Family on an H-1B Visa

Can my spouse work if he or she accompanies me to America on an H-1B visa?

H-1B visas allow workers in specialized fields to travel to the United States to work in their chosen occupations.  Immigrants that secure an H-1B visa may work in America for a period of six years, which can optionally be extended.  Due to the length of time that the H-1B visa holder will likely stay in the U.S., many foreign workers wish to bring their immediate family along with them.  Qualifying family members may be able to accompany the H-1B visa recipient under an H-4 visa.

Qualifying Family Members

Spouses and dependent children (children under the age of 21) are the only family members eligible to seek an H-4 dependent visa.  The H-4 dependent visa will not allow your spouse or children to work while they are in the United States. However, certain H-4 visa holders may be permitted to apply for a work permit.  

An H-4 visa holder that wants to apply for an employment authorization document or EAD must meet several qualifications.  The dependent visa holder can only seek an EAD if their spouse is here on a valid H-1 visa. Further, the H-1B spouse must have an approved I-140 petition for immigrant worker.  If the I-140 is revoked, the H-4 visa holder can no longer apply for an EAD.

If your spouse or child can secure an EAD, he or she can work full or part time in any position or even start their own business.  EAD holders are not subject to restrictions or limitations and can use the work permit, or not use it, as they desire. The H-4 EAD can be extended so long as the H-1B spouse’s visa is lawfully extended beyond the initial six years in one year increments.  Contact an immigration lawyer for more assistance with bringing your family to the United States so that you may fulfill your H-1B visa.

If you should have any questions or need more information about the ways in which the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Laws may impact you, your family, your friends or your colleagues, please contact the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Lawyers at the NPZ Law Group – VISASERVE – U.S. Immigration and Nationality Lawyers by e-mailing us at or by calling us at 201-670-0006 (x107).  You can also visit our Law Firm’s website at