Recently, my sister got married and she applied for H4 visa as her husband has been working on H1B visa in USA. It was one of the hectic processes, I had to go through collecting all the needed paper work. My brother-in-law had to leave for USA due to his work, so my sister went alone for her H4 VISA stamping. My brother-in-law already had his H1B visa stamped. I thought to share the required documents on my blog as it might be helpful for others. Although, this list is from an Indian perspective, but might be helpful for people from other countries.
Before listing the documents, I would like to mention that marriage is a must requirement for H4 visa.
1. Principal applicant’s copy of I797 (I129): As we understand, principal applicant is the one who is associated with I797A (I129 type). Also, it is not necessary for principal applicant to be present, and H4 visa applicant can go alone too for the stamping.
2. Spouse’s original passport: who is applying for H4 visa.
3. HDFC receipt.
4. Applicant visa photos as specified on http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/info/info_1287.html.
5. Interview letter.
6. DS-160 application confirmation letter with CEAC bar code: With the introduction of DS-160, one needs not carry the printout of complete application, only the confirmation letter is enough.
Important note 1: US embassy just needs the original passport of H4 visa applicant. Other than this, US embassy never requires any other original documents.
Not mandatory, but highly important documents:
1. Principal applicant’s employment verification letter: a sample letter is provided here http://www.immihelp.com/greencard/sample-employment-letter.html.
2. Principal applicant’s job offer letter.
3. Principal applicant’s pay slips for the last 2 months (better to take 6 months or last one year).
4. Principal applicant’s W2 from previous years: W2 is a tax document sent by USA employers to its employee.
5. Principal applicant’s tax returns (federal and state both) from previous years.
6. Marriage certificate.
7. Marriage invitation cards.
8. Marriage album or some photos.
9. Copy of principal applicant’s valid passport (current and old if any).
10. Copy of principal applicant’s H1B visa: It is not mandatory to have a copy of H1B visa, as it is possible that principal applicant has a H1B approval I797A (I29 type), but does not have H1B visa stamped on his/her passport.
11. Copy of principal applicant’s previous visas, if any.
12. Travel itinerary printout.
1. Spouse’s I797A (I539 type): Not everybody receives it, and my sister did not have this one. As per my understanding, infact as my brother-in-law told me, that if the spouse has already been in USA, for example on F2 visa, and then his/her employer files H1B petition for the employee and his/her spouse. In this case, H4 visa person receives I797A (I539 type).
2. LCA (labor condition application): Filed by the company at the time of H1B petition.
3. H1B petition filed by the company.
4. Copy of (at least 6 months) bank statements (checking and savings or any accounts) showing enough funds to support your spouse.
5. A (nice) cover letter from the principal applicant inviting H4 applicant (his/her spouse) addressed to US embassy.
Not really needed, but you may have:
1. Principal applicant’s SSN (social security number) copy: SSN is a unique identification number provided by USA to all its residents who are eligible and getting paid for the work they are doing.
2. Principal applicant’s driver license photocopy.
3. Principal applicant’s photocopy of I94: I94 is given when one enters USA at the port of entry.
4. Copy of (Pre or Post) OPT documents, if any.
5. Copy of principal applicant’s degrees.
6. H4 applicant’s degree or marksheet documents.
7. H4 applicant’s birth certificate.
8. Principal applicant’s copies of I20 in case he/she has studied in USA before working on H1B: I20 is a document provided by USA university to the international students who have got admission. I20 decides the length of your stay in USA.
9. H4 applicant’s bank account in India.
10. Principal applicant’s USA residency proof, like lease paper if staying in a rented apartment or driver’s license.
In case, the spouse has already been in USA, then you may also take following documents, but not necessary:
1. H4 applicant’s ITIN document: As H4 is dependent VISA, one with H4 visa can not have SSN, so USA issues that person ITIN number that is only used for tax purposes.
2. H4 applicant’s driver’s license copy.
3. H4 applicant’s copies of I20 when on F2 visa, if any.
Important note 2: It is better to have two copies of each original document, in case US embassy requires one, and one for your records.
Important note 3: One on H4 visa is not entitled to work in USA, and can not get paid in any form.
Important note 4: I797C is a notification letter sent by USCIS for the approval of H1B petition. generally I797C is not needed any where.
We got lot of help from the following (very helpful) links: