Immediate family members of H-1B, H-1B1, H-2A, H-2B, and H-3 visa holders may enter the country with an H-4 visa, allowing them to visit their principal visa holder or to reunite with them. A spouse or unmarried child under the age of 21 is considered a dependent family member.
Can H4 Visa Holders Engage In Independent Work?
Although there are numerous aspects to this subject, the gist is that you cannot.
You are not permitted to work for yourself while you are in the US if you simply have an H4 visa and no other authorizations. It functions in the same way that you are not permitted to work or find employment in the United States.
This restriction also holds true regardless of where your clients are situated or the currency in which you are compensated. It will still be a violation of your H4 visa even if your client is headquartered in your home country and deposits money into your bank account there.
The good news is that if you have an H4 Employment Authorization Document (EAD), just as you are able to work in the United States, you are also able to perform freelance work.
If a nonimmigrant visa holder’s visa does not automatically provide them the right to work in the United States, they can get an Employment Authorization Document (commonly known as Form I-766 or EAD). You must request permission from US Immigration and Citizenship Services in order to be able to work (USCIS). The EAD (a little card) itself serves as confirmation that you have been granted this authorization and are therefore permitted to work.
Before 2015, people with H4 visas couldn’t do any kind of employment in the US. After 2015, some H4 visa holders who possess an EAD are permitted to work. You are not restricted by the EAD to a certain industry or position. You can work for any company in any field, and you can even work for yourself.
Those who hold an H4 visa can apply for an H4 EAD:
• You’ve received approval for your I-140 (petition for the immigration of alien workers), or
• According to the AC21 Act, you have a spouse on an H1B visa whose visa status will persist for more than six years.
The H4 EAD hasn’t yet been canceled despite the numerous complaints and lawsuits surrounding it.
You now know that the H4 EAD allows for freelancing. However, how do you begin freelancing on EAD?
On EAD, How To Freelance
Well, you must first obtain an EAD. Utilizing Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, you can request an EAD. How to apply for your H4 EAD can be found here.
The two most crucial things you should be aware of are as follows:
$410 is required to apply.
• Submit your application as soon as you can because it takes between 150 and 210 days (5 to 7 months) to process.
You must submit the following paperwork to apply:
• Marriage license (proving you are married to an H1B visa holder).
• A duplicate of your I-94 or I-797 form (proving you H4 status).
• A copy of your most recent EAD (if you have been issued with one).
• Two passport photographs (make sure they are in color).
If you want to be emailed or sent a text message after your application is accepted, fill out Form G-1145 (E-notification of Application Acceptance).
• Providing copies of your spouse’s Form I-94 or H1B nonimmigrant passport, older Form I-94s, and the most recent Form I-797 for Form I-129 as proof of eligibility
• Copies of your passports and those of your spouse.
• Your birth certificate, your government-issued ID with a photo, your visa from a foreign consulate, or your national ID (with a photo).
Your question, “Can I conduct freelance work on an H4 visa?” has been answered.
Freelancing is a viable alternative if you can obtain an EAD even if it isn’t the ideal way to make money while on an H4 visa. If you qualify, submit your application as soon as you can because the H4 EAD processing time is lengthy.
Keep in mind that performing any type of freelance job, even outside the nation, will theoretically violate your H4 visa if you do not have an EAD. So it is better to be cautious than sorry.