New international faculty members may be accompanied by an international spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age. The BIO website provides more information for families. Information regarding H-4 visas for family members is summarized here.
International spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age may obtain H-4 dependent visa status through the faculty member’s H-1B visa. When an H-4 dependent child turns 21, he or she is no longer eligible for H-4 status.
H-4 dependents are not authorized to work in the U.S., but they may attend academic institutions full- or part-time. There are options for the accompanying faculty spouse to explore job skill-building opportunities as a volunteer while on H-4 status. Once the application for Permanent Residency is approved, the accompanying spouse is eligible to work in the U.S.
Family Members Residing Outside of the U.S.
Family members who reside outside of the U.S. when an H-1B petition is submitted and approved do not need to submit any documents to USCIS to obtain H-4 status. Instead, family members should apply for an H-4 visa stamp at the U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate overseas. Family members should consult the U.S. Department of State website to determine which documents are required for an H-4 visa.
Family Members Residing in the U.S.
International family members who reside in the U.S. and are seeking to extend their H-4 status or change to H-4 status must submit an I-539 Application to USCIS to extend/change nonimmigrant status. The Berkeley International Office assists dependents with the I-539 Application if it is submitted along with the H-1B case for the international faculty member.
UC Berkeley does not cover the processing fees for a spouse and dependents.
The international faculty member is expected to pay these fees.