H4 to H1B Visa: Eligibility, Documents & Requirements

People on an H4 visa are dependents of working H1B visa holders. H4 visa holders are allowed to study and work in the U.S. If they have any reasons to change from an H4 visa to an H1B visa, it can be done. There is a procedure in place for this. We are here to explain the H4 to H1B conversion process. 

H4 to H1B Visa
H4 to H1B Visa

Eligibility  for H4 to H1B Visa

In order for an H4 visa holder to convert to an H1B visa they need to fulfill the following criteria:

  • The H4 visa holder needs to have applied for an H1B visa earlier and have been selected in the H1B lottery. This makes the H4 visa holder exempt from the H1B cap. 
  • The H4 visa holder must have a job offer from an H1B cap exempt employer. The employer could be:
  • A not for profit institution of higher education
  • A not for profit entity related or affiliated to an institution of higher education
  • A not for profit organization or a governmental research organization
  • H4 visa holder has an employment offer from an H1B petitioning employer and is selected in the H1B visa lottery.

Required Documents for H4 to H1B Visa

In order to convert from an H4  visa to an H1B visa, the applicant must submit the following documents. The documents for the H1B application are also required. 

  • Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status
  • Supporting documents such as employment offer, support letter, and labor condition approval, (LCA)

All of the documents required for the H1B visa must also be submitted. 

Here is the checklist of documents required to apply for H-1B visas from outside the US:  

  • Copy of passport
  • Copy of educational degree/ certificate/ transcripts 
  • Letter of the current appointment
  • Copy of previous appointment/ experience 
  • Labor Certificate Approval (LCA)
  • Tax returns paper of the company
  • Copy of the letter received from the Department of Justice
  • A copy of the letter sent to the Consular General of the Indian Consulate
  • Short description of job responsibilities with the sponsoring US company
  • Copy of the current or temporary US License
  • Resume with supporting certificates
  • Demand drafts for processing fee and issuance fee
  • 2-3 passport size colored photographs 
  • Copies of marriage certificate and birth certificate in case of dependent members

Here is the checklist of documents required to apply for an H-1B visa when you are already living in the US:

  • Copy of front page and visa pages of the current passport
  • Current address in the US
  • Address in the home country
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Form I-94 card copy
  • Prior H1-B approval notices copy
  • Updated resume with employment history
  • Copy of educational degree/ certificate
  • Copy of credentials evaluation
  • Your current designation with the sponsoring U.S. Company
  • Description of your job responsibilities
  • Social security number
  • Recent W2 copy
  • Recent payslip copy
  • Photo specification for H-1B visa
  • Your photo must meet the specific standards set by USCIS.  The photo specifications are: square, colored, and the minimum size 600×600 pixels and maximum size 1200×1200 pixels in a JPEG file format with a file size of fewer than 240 KB. 


The sponsoring employer of the H4 visa holder must file his or her H1B petition. The H1B sponsoring employer must submit the following along with Form I-129.

  • Evidence of labor condition application certified by U.S. Department of Labor
  • Evidence showing that proposed employment qualifies as a specialty occupation
  • Evidence that beneficiary has required degree by submitting a copy of degree certificates (U.S. degree or foreign degree), evidence of specialized training/progressively responsible experience
  • A copy of required license or official permission to practice the occupation in the intended state of employment.

Applying for an H1B visa from an H4 visa is the same as applying for an H1B from outside the United States, except that the H4 visa holder must also file Form I-539 to change nonimmigrant status.

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Can an H4 visa holder convert to an H1B visa ?

Yes they can, provided they satisfy the requirements.

Are H4 visa holders allowed to study and work in the United States ?

Yes they are.

Who has to file the H1B petition for the H4 visa holder ?

The sponsoring employer has to file the petition.

Is it necessary to submit all the H1B visa documents ?

Yes along with certain other documents.

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