If you’re planning to come to the United States as a dependent of an H-1B nonimmigrant worker, you will need to apply for an H4 visa. Understandably, one of the significant concerns you might have is the processing time for the visa application. In general, the H4 visa processing time relies on different factors that could affect the duration. Here is what you need to know about the H4 visa processing timeline.
H4 Visa Processing Time
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) releases processing times for H4 visa applications, but the actual processing time depends on various aspects such as the number of applications received and the complexity of individual cases.
On average, processing H4 visa applications can take up to 6 months from the application submission date. However, in some cases, it can take longer, while in some cases, it can take much lesser time, depending on the individual’s circumstance.
Factors that Affect Processing Times
Several factors can influence the H4 visa processing time. Here are some of them:
The USCIS receives a significant number of H4 visa applications daily, which means that the processing time can be relatively longer during high seasons.
Providing incomplete or incorrect information on an application can delay the process or even lead to a denial. Therefore, it is essential to ensure careful attention to the visa application process and provide accurate and up-to-date information.
Request for Further Evidence (RFE)
In some cases, the USCIS may need additional information from the applicant to clarify or make a decision. Submitting the requested evidence promptly can help expedite the process.
In some situations, background checks may take longer than expected, which could delay the visa processing timeline.
Country of Origin
Specific country circumstances such as high fraud rates, high instance of documentation errors, etc. may lead to additional processing efforts and increased wait time
H4 Visa Application Process
Here is the H4 visa application process that every applicant should be familiar with:
Step 1: Complete the Application Form
The first step is to complete and submit the form DS-160, the online nonimmigrant visa application. Applicants should include accurate and up-to-date information in all fields.
Step 2: Pay the Visa Fee
After completing the application form, applicants should pay the required visa fee, which is currently $190.
Step 3: Schedule a Visa Interview
Next, schedule an on-site interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate in your country of origin. Ensure to carry all the necessary documents to the interview.
Step 4: Attend the Interview
Attend the visa interview on the scheduled date and time. The officer will ask questions about your background, employment, and your connection with the principal H-1B visa holder.
Step 5: Wait for the decision
After the interview, the decision would be made after processing the information gathered at the interview.
What to Do if the Processing Takes Longer than Expected
If processing your H4 visa application takes longer than anticipated, do not panic; it can happen. Here are some options available to you:
If it has been a long time without any decision, you can check the status of your application through the USCIS website, by phone, or by contacting the National Customer Service Center. You can also request an expedite of the application processing.
Contact Your Consulate
You can also contact the U.S. consular post where you had your interview for updates on the visa processing status.
- On average, the H4 visa processing time can take up to 6 months, depending on many factors.
- Providing complete and accurate information in your visa application, responding promptly to USCIS queries, and verifying all required supporting documents are provided are essential to expedite your visa processing time.
- Incomplete and incorrect information and documentation errors or any details that require clarification can delay visa processing.
- Check with USCIS or your consular post for updates about the application processing status if it’s taking longer than expected.
- If necessary, you can request an expedite of the visa processing time.
What is H4 visa processing time for spouses and dependents?
On average, the H4 visa processing time can take up to 6 months, depending on several factors.
Can I expedite the H4 visa processing time?
If your case is urgent, you can request expedite processing if your dates, such as travel dates or medical issues, demand it or if you are experiencing extreme hardship as a result of delays.
What happens if my visa application is denied?
If your visa application is denied, you will receive an explanation of the reasons for the denial. You may reapply if there is a change in your circumstances or if you correct any issues that led to the denial.
Can I work on H4 visa?
Yes, if you have been issued a valid H4 visa, you can apply for an H4 EAD (Employment Authorization Document) to work legally under certain conditions.