The limitations of H-4 visas for children of H-1B workers

When a foreign national comes to the U.S. to work in a specialty occupation on an H-1B work visa, they may bring certain family members with them. Under U.S. immigration law, certain relatives of such workers can qualify for legal immigration status through a special kind of visa. This visa is called an H-4 visa. Among the individuals that can qualify for such a visa are children of H-1B workers, if they are under the age of 21.

An important thing to note is that there are some limitations that H-4 visas have for such children. One is that they do not authorize such individuals to work in the U.S., even after they hit working age. Another limitation comes from the fact that such visas only convey legal immigration status to such children while they are under the age of 21.

Given this, when a child of an H-1B worker who holds an H-4 visa is approaching the age of 21, they have to get legal status from a different source if they desire to keep living in the U.S. legally. One thing that could do this is their H-1B worker parent getting a green card, as this can make them eligible for permanent resident status as well. Another option would be such a child switching to a different type of visa, such as a student visa.

The above-mentioned limitations could pose barriers to some of the goals of a child of an H-1B worker. They could also pose roadblocks when it comes to the goals the parents of such children have for their kids.

When the limitations of a given type of visa pose barriers to the goals a foreign national living in the U.S. has (including goals for their children), it can be incredibly important for them to understand if they have any alternate immigration routes they could pursue that could be more consistent with their goals. It can also be critical for them to understand what challenges might come up in connection to pursuing such alternatives, and what can be done to respond to such challenges. Immigration attorneys can give guidance on these topics and other important immigration matters.