Skip to content

Applying for PhD in H4 Visa

I am on H4 visa since 2007 and I have a MS degree in Microbiology from India(completed 2002). I have couple of years job experience in India. I have been taking courses in related field from a local community college during my stay in USA. What are the prospects if I want to apply for Phd program in USA after such a long time of my graduation? And how should I prepare for it? – Richi

Attending School on H4 Visa

Few suggestions for you

  1. Talk to professors in the school you plan to apply. Get a feel for what they have to say about your chances.
  2. Start reading white papers and frame a problem. When you talk to professors, say about the problem you want to solve (or atleast the area)
  3. If Direct PhD doesn’t help, get admit for Masters, and convert to PhD after you start attending the classes

Also, high GRE Score will come in handy for PhD admission. You have to think about converting to F1 visa too.


  1. Vasavi Manchikanti on June 16, 2018 at 12:41 AM


    Currently I’m on h4. Planning to write GRE and TOEFL. Can I write them from us ?

    Thanks in advance.

    • Raghuram Sukumar on June 21, 2018 at 12:45 AM

      Yes. There will be Prometric centers nearby. Look under My ETS site for test locations. I felt IELTS is better than TOEFL.

  2. Archana Fernandez on June 21, 2011 at 10:25 AM

    Hi, I recently enrolled in MSW program at Hunter College School of Social Work at CUNY. I am on H-4 and would like to transfer it to F-1, how difficult is it. I have begun the process with the international students affair office at CUNY, they will issue me I-20 this week. What is the procedure after that? Also I don’t plan on going to India immediately….Do I have to go to India to get it stamped…A little concerned about that. Also my husband’s permanent labor certification has recently been approved, should I be informing this in the visa interview?

    I had mailed my concerns previously on this blog, but never got any response. Hoping for a more favorable response this time around.


  3. jina on June 19, 2011 at 9:46 AM

    I applied for my Phd being a H4 and converted it into a F1 during my first semester.
    The best thing to do is- try to talk to the professors and Phd students in the skool you are planning to apply to. Your visa status doesnt really make a difference in you getting admission for Phd. Make sure you are willing to work 4-6 years with utmost dedication and is into research nd long hours of reading and writing. (Depends on the discipline; but still).
    And converting from H4 to F1 is not at all hard especially if you have funding from within US. But I would also advise to get it done and stamped from India to avoid heartburns on travel plans et al later if you can (Not necessary though).
    Regarding the application- prepare a strong application emphasizing on what you can contribute to future research and how your long years of experience will boost your chances in doing that. Also get good recommendation letters and if posible, get one from any of your professors in the community college. A recent and within locale reco also helps. (but get it from a professor of advanced years of experience and preferably a Phd.).
    Good luck!!

    • kalyani kannareddy on March 20, 2018 at 11:09 AM

      Hi Jeena,

      I have done masters currently h4 visa, do need to write GRE to enter in PHD school.

      • Raghuram Sukumar on March 21, 2018 at 12:28 AM

        Most PhD programs require GRE.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.