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An H4 visa can allow you to temporarily live, work and study in the United States, based on the sponsorship of a parent or spouse with a type H visa. If you apply for an H4 visa and receive a rejection, it can be disheartening. However, it's not the end, and there are still things that you can do to improve the situation and obtain a visa.
If you have been denied an H4 visa, it is possible to reapply and see if you might have better luck. Of course, it's best to try to understand why you have been rejected first so that you can correct the issue. In this article, you will learn about H4 visas, why your application may have been rejected, and how to reapply.
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What Is an H4 Visa?
An H4 visa is issued to dependent family members of people who hold an H visa. You can apply for an H visa while your dependent pursues an H4 visa. The spouse or parent who carries the H type visa sponsors the H4 visa holder.
The validity of the H4 visa depends on the visa that the sponsor holds. An H4 visa allows the holder to live, work, and study in the U.S., although it doesn't grant permanent residency. Because an H4 visa is dependent on the sponsor's visa, it becomes invalid when the sponsor's visa expires.
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What Can You Do on an H4 Visa?
An H4 visa makes it possible for holders to do a range of things in the United States. In addition to being able to live in the country for the length of the visa, H4 visa holders can also:
Study in the U.S.
Open bank accounts
Get a driver's license
Be eligible for an ITIN (Tax ID for IRS Tax purposes)
Work in the U.S. - by applying for Employment Authorization
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Who Is Eligible for an H4 Visa?
Dependents of people with H visas are eligible for an H4 visa; this includes spouses and children. If your spouse is the holder of a type H visa or your parent holds a type H visa, and you are under the age of 21, you are eligible for an H4 visa.
Not all H type visas allow dependents to be employed in the U.S., so be sure you know whether this is the case if you intend to work. You can speak to an immigration attorney if you need to know more about whether you or your dependent is eligible for an H4 visa.
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Can You Renew an H4 Visa?
The length of an H4 visa depends on the visa of the sponsor. If the sponsor's visa ends, it will also end the dependent's H4 visa. An H4 visa can be renewed, but you need to be sure to start the application for renewal before it expires. It's a good idea to start this process at least 180 days (about six months) before the visa expires.
Why Might You Be Rejected for an H4 Visa?
If you apply for an H4 visa and receive a rejection, it can be disheartening. There are several reasons that you might be rejected for an H4 visa, but understanding them can help you to get your application right next time. Here are some common reasons that H4 visas are rejected:
Rejection for financial reasons
A 212(a)(4) rejection for an H4 visa relates to the ability of the visa sponsor to support their dependent financially. The visa sponsor needs to have financial means that meet or exceed the state poverty line to show that they can support the dependent applicant.
Another financial issue that can cause concern is if your sponsor's W2 annual salary is lower than the salary on their Labor Condition Approval (LCA). This situation will result in a 221(g) refusal of an H4 visa application.
Refusal based on intentions
When you apply for a visa, you must show that you have the right intentions and will follow the rules. If you receive a 214(b) refusal, this means that the application has been rejected based on how you intend to use the visa. The immigration authorities want to ensure that you will return to your home country and that you have the financial means to pay for your trip without any unauthorized work. They also want to make sure that you will use the visa legitimately.
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Can You Reapply for an H4 Visa?
If your application for an H4 visa is rejected, you can reapply to try again. As long as your sponsor still has their visa and you haven't broken any laws in the U.S., you can submit another application. You can see if correcting any unclear information on your visa request helps.
How Can You Avoid a Second Rejection?
To avoid being rejected again, you need to understand why your visa application was denied. If your rejection was for financial reasons, you might need to provide further evidence of the financial means of yourself or your sponsor.
You can provide information from bank accounts, stocks and bonds, and personal property ownership to help prove financial means. With a 221(g) refusal, you might find that a second application will be more successful with the help of an immigration lawyer.
When you have received a rejection based on your intentions, you will need to prove that you are a nonimmigrant. One of the ways to do this is to provide more evidence that you have a good reason to return to your home country.
A rejection based on intention could include:
having a family at home
having social or economic obligations
reasons to return to your home country
Evidence of these intentions will show that you can be trusted not to overstay your visa, or at least to renew it if you want to stay in the U.S. longer.
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Don’t Be Discouraged if Your H4 Visa Application is Rejected
An H4 visa rejection does not immediately rescind your immigration plans, but it may delay the process. If you have had an H4 visa rejection and need help with reapplying, an immigration attorney can help you by offering advice and support for your application. Sometimes, the information you need to provide clarification on will be dependent on your unique situation. Even though this can be a complicated process, rest assured that your case will be under fair review.