U.S. Immigration Advisor
CAN I HAVE BOTH AN H-4 AND H1B VISA AT THE SAME TIME ?
Question: I have a valid H1B visa stamp. But my employer in the US does not have a project for me to work on at the moment so I cannot come to the US using my H1B visa. My husband also has a valid H-1B visa stamp and is in the US. For personal reasons I need to travel to him urgently.
1.Can I apply for an H4 visa? If I am granted an H4 visa will that cancel my H1B visa?
2.If I come to the US on an H4 visa, Can I change my status to H1B later?
The Immigration Advisor - Samar: Someone with a valid H-1B visa in their passport is still able to obtain an H-4 visa in their passport as well, where their spouse is in H-1B status. Obtaining the H-4 visa does not cancel the H-1B visa. You are allowed to have more than one valid nonimmigrant visa at the same time. However, you can only use one visa at a time. So someone with both a valid H-1B visa and a valid H-4 visa would have to use one or the other when they travel to the US. If the person enters on the H-4 visa and then wants to work in H-1B status for their H-1B employer, they will first need to leave the US and return on their valid H-1B visa. Alternatively, their employer could file a new H-1B petition for them to change their status from H-4 to H-1B, but they would need to wait until that petition for change of status was approved and the start date was reached before they could begin working in H-1B status.
Caution: While obtaining a second nonimmigrant visa does not invalidate the first nonimmigrant visa, if the consular officer determines that you are no longer eligible for the first nonimmigrant visa, they have the ability to cancel that visa. For example, if someone has a B-1/B-2 visitor visa in their passport, and the consular officer determines that the person has immigrant intent (they plan to stay in the US and apply for a green card) during the person’s application for an H-1B visa, the consular officer may choose to cancel the B-1/B-2 visitor visa.