Can an H4 visa holder work from home for an Indian company? An H4 visa holder can work from home for an Indian company if he or she has an EAD.
Read the article to learn more about H4 visas, the type of work it allows, and how to obtain an EAD.
What is H4 Visa?
H4 is a U.S. visa issued to dependent family members of H-1B, H-2A, H-2B, and H-3 visa holders.
- H-1B – workers in a specialty occupation
- H-2A – seasonal or temporary agricultural workers
- H-2B – temporary non-agricultural workers
- H-3 – nonimmigrant trainees except medical or academic
H4 is a temporary, nonimmigrant visa that allows family members to travel to the United States to accompany the principal visa holder or reunite with him/her. Spouses of H-1B, H-2A, H-2B, and H-3 visa holders or their children under 21 years of age are under the H4 category.
H4 visa holders can attend school or college. However, H4 visa holders are not offered a social security number. Up until 2015, they were not eligible for employment related to their field of study. But there is a change to this requirement (we will discuss this in the next section of the article). Moreover, they can apply to change another nonimmigrant status, which would allow them more choices.
Can H4 Visa Holders Work in the U.S.?
Up until 2015, H4 visas only allowed dependents of H-1B, H-2A, H-2B, and H-3 visa holders to temporarily live in the USA.
In 2015, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that this rule would change from May 26, 2015. Therefore, holders of H4 visa EAD can now legally work or start a business in the U.S. However, there are certain stipulations to starting employment under an H4 visa. First of all, their spouses’ or parents’ visas (principal visa holders’ visas) should be valid in the U.S. Most importantly, they must have Employment Authorization Documents (EAD).
What is EAD for H4?
EAD (Employment Authorization Document) is also known as Form I-766. This document authorizes an H4 visa holder to work in the United States. EAD doesn’t specify which field you should work in or what type of job you do. EAD is basically a small card that acts as proof that you have received permission from the USCIS to work in the United States. With this card, you can work for any industry and even work from home.
How to Apply for EAD?
To apply for EAD, you have to first fill this Form I-766. As supporting evidence, you will also have to submit:
- Marriage certificate
- Copies of your and your spouse’s passports.
- A copy of your Form I-94 or Form I-797
- 2x passport photos
- Government-issued ID (with photo)/ your birth certificate (with photo)/ visa issued by a foreign consulate/ national I.D. (with photo).
- A copy of spouse’s Form I-94 or H1B nonimmigrant passport, prior Form I-94, and current Form I-797 for Form I-129.
For more information on EAD and employment authorization for H4 visa holders: https://www.uscis.gov/working-in-the-united-states/temporary-workers/h-1b-specialty-occupations-and-fashion-models/employment-authorization-for-certain-h-4-dependent-spouses
Note: EAD is only valid for a specific period of time. You will have to renew it again once it expires.
Can H4 Visa Holders Work from Home?
Most people think that freelancing or working from home is a loophole in the law that prevents H4 visa holders from working. Some assume it’s’ okay to work for a company that is based in their home country while living in the U.S. under an H4 visa as they are not earning dollars, and no one will know about them working. But it’s not as easy as that. If you hold an H4 visa, you cannot even work from home for a company based in your home country. It’s considered a breach of your visa conditions. However, as we explained above, if you have an EAD for your H4 visa, then there is nothing to prevent you from working from home in the U.S.
If you are an H4 visa holder who wants to work from home for an Indian company or any other company outside the U.S., first you have to apply for an EAD.
Good News for H4 Visa Holders!
Two U.S. lawmakers, Carolyn Bourdeaux and Maria Elvira Salazar, have introduced a bill in the House of Representatives to change the current law and grant H4 visa holders an automatic right to work.