6 Options for H4 Visa Holders: Work, Study or Stay At Home (Unhappy)

H4 Visa is a dependent visa for H1B. There’s very options for H4 Visa holders work here in the USA. Spouse and children of H1B visa holder can get H4 visa to enter the USA. H4 is non-immigrant visa and doesn’t provide work permit unless H1B spouses Green Card process have started.

  • USCIS began accepting H4 EAD application from May of 2015.  Check the H4 EAD Eligibility and How to Apply for H4 EAD.

But not all H4 visa holders qualify for H4 EAD. So, what do you do? How can H4 Visa holders work and have a career? Several readers in this blog are on H4 Visa and looking for various available for them to work and study.  You are not alone.

Note: Check out the H4 Visa Career Guide for step by step guide to figure out the best option for you with a timeline and based on your family needs.

This is the short (preview) version of the actual course. I can think of six possible options for H4 Visa holders who have who are yet to become eligible for H4 EAD.

Options for H4 Visa Holders

I can think of following six options for H4 Visa spouse in the USA:

  1. Find a full-time job and have an employer sponsor H1B Visa
  2. Find a consultant and have them apply H1B Visa
  3. Find a full-time job that qualifies in Cap-Exempt H1B (How to Get A Job and Cap Exempt H1B Visa)
  4. Go to School in H4 Visa
  5. Go to School in F1 Visa (H4 to F1 Status Change)
  6. Volunteering in your field in H4 Visa.

There are pros and cons for each option. I think the best of all six options for H4 Visa holders is to go to school in H4 or F1 Visa, and then get OPT and find a job.

Seeking an IT consultant to sponsor your H1 or finding a full-time job is not an easy task. Folks who went through the process share some awful experiences.

H4 Visa – Going Back to School

Going back to school on H4 Visa is probably the best option. I would never say no to anyone going back to school to study.

Let it be Graduate Certification Course to Degree or even other cost effective options instead of paying for a degree.

During my consulting sessions, families on H1B and H4 Visa, I often take a deep dive to find their motives about going back to school. The conversation usually starts like this “I’m on H4 Visa, I have 5 years work experience in India, what can I do to land a job in USA.”

For some, going back to study on H4 Visa is the best option. For others, I would recommend mixing of H4 and F1, for toehrs, I would recommend to look for alternatives.


You can see several comments posted for this article (below). Words, don’t convey emotions. But, when we speak over a video call, it’s easy to figure out what you are comfortable with as a family.

Check about further analysis about Pros and Cons of Studying on H4 Visa vs F1 Visa or consider scheduling a quick call to discuss your options with me.

Working on H4 Visa

There are several comments on this blog related to working on H4 visa and other options. Most logical option is to find a job via H4 EAD. But, refer to the following articles about Challenges Ahead

A few are listed below.

Reader 1:

I have completed MCA from India. Now I’m in US on H4. I would like to do some work rather than sitting at home. Can you suggest me how can I change my visa status? Which is better in my current situation: Transfer my visa to H1, Study some course and then change to F1 Visa?

Reader 2:

I am in the US on H4 visa. I know I am not allowed to work as per the visa, but I would still like to try.
I have a MBA (HR) and 5 years of professional experience. Can you suggest some ways to format my resume as per US standards and also what I should expect in my job search?

Reader 3:

Could anyone please give me some tips on finding companies that are currently sponsoring in the US. I am in the Accounting profession and was educated in the US. I am on an H4 visa and looking to find a company that will sponsor me, but I am finding this process extremely difficult. Any tips, or suggestions are greatly appreciated!

You have to know, there’re not a lot of options for H4 visa holder to work. I know spouses who wait for long, and then they just gave up.

We have the perfect example in my household. My wife had seven years break in career. She went back to the college to Study MGIM (France and the USA) to address the “Gap” in the Career. For some, it will be going back to school, for others it can be via certifications or volunteering jobs.

I would like to hear from H4 Visa holder about the above six options and which one do you think is the best or if you have any success story to share, I like to hear from you.