America is a land of opportunities. And it is quite a hot-spot for foreign people. Known to have one of the largest ethnic diversity, the USA attracts people for leisure, work, studies, and so on. Sometimes, when they are settled in the country, they would want to bring their spouse and children to live with them. Luckily, the US Government has a provision for this too in the form of a US dependent Visa.
A Dependent Visa USA allows the spouse or children of certain US visa holders to accompany them to the country. Depending on the type of visa the individual possesses, the partner and the children can apply for a corresponding dependent permit. The validity of these visas varies upon the validity of the primary visa. If the sponsoring individual has a permit for say 2 years, their dependents will have a visa valid for up to 2 years. Based on the type of primary visa, the dependent visas are of the following major types -
Note:- Throughout this guide, the term ‘sponsor’ refers to the individual upon whom the dependent depends on.
The F2, L2, J2, and H4 visa application, are all applied in a similar way. Before making the application, ensure that one is eligible for the particular type based on the permit of the guardian. The process can then be continued by following the below procedure -
It is recommended that the dependents apply for the visa at the same time as their sponsor applies. This will make it faster and easier for visa approval. It is necessary that all the forms including the H4 visa application forms are filled accurately, and submit the original documents. Any faults in the application may cause it being delayed, and fake or invalid documents will lead to a visa denial. A rejected visa can make one ineligible for future visa applications.
Please note that individuals below the age of 14 and over the age of 80 do not have to attend a visa interview or a biometric. Also, if a person has had their dependent visa expire in the past 12 months and are applying for the same category, they are also exempt from the interview. However, in certain cases, you may be required to attend an interview or submit biometrics.
The individuals who can apply for US Dependent Visa have to fulfil the following criteria -
The documents required for the application varies from type to type. Apart from the general documents, each type has additional requirements. The common documents are as follows -
Apart from these, the specific documents required for each category are as below -
The general time of processing visa is in the range of 15-30 working days. Depending on several factors such as the workload at the embassy or consulate, express delivery, the type of Dependent visa USA, and so on, it can get much longer. It also depends on when the sponsor applies for their visa. If both of you apply for it together, your visas will be processed at the same time. The task of scheduling an interview can take much more and have high waiting time. As a result, it is highly advisable to apply well in advance.
The fees for the visa depends on several factors such as the category, as well as other charges like the biometric charges, reciprocity fees, visa issuance fees, etc if applicable.
Once the application has been submitted, your visa will be issued for validity as per the consular officer depending upon the interview, and the validity of your sponsor’s visa. The duration, however, can vary depending upon the decision of the Customs Border Patrol officers at the port of entry.
You can track your US Dependent Visa status by visiting the US embassy website and checking it online. Alternately, you can email to email@example.com with your passport number.
When you receive the visa, you are required to keep the following points in mind -
The possibility of an extension depends on the permit type, validity, and duration of the sponsor’s visa. If the sponsor has an extension or has a long duration permit, you may be able to extend the US permit. In order to do so, you must make an application to the USCIS (the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) before your current visa expires. However, the success of your application will depend upon a variety of factors such as the intention, immigration status, and so on. Also, you will have to submit all the documents that you have submitted for the original visa.
After expiring your dependent permit, you cannot stay back any longer in the country. You must leave the country before the expiry. Staying back in the country after this permitted period is considered as an offence and can get you deported and in cases where there is a long period of stay after the expiry, you may even be banned from applying for a visa again. However, you may stay back in the country in the case where you have applied for an extension.
The medical test requirements for the dependent permit depends on the duration of the stay. Since the duration again depends on the sponsor’s visa. Since the non-immigrant permits are for short duration stays, there are usually no medical test requirements necessary. However, it is advised that you get a medical checkup done before travelling to the US for your own safety.
This depends on the exact type of dependent permit. The H4 and L2 dependent category permit you to take up studies in the US. However, once you are accepted by an institution, your category can be converted to an F1. The F2 dependent permit does not allow you to work in degree or credit-bearing courses. If your child is the F2 holder, they may only study elementary school and middle school.
No, you cannot travel to the US if you are a parent of the US permit holder. Parents do not come under the category of a dependent. Dependents include only children or spouses of the US visa holder. If you do wish to bring in your parents into the country, you can apply for a B1/B2 visa for them.
No, it is not necessary to provide educational documents or English proficiency test for the dependent visa. Since you are going to the country as a dependent of the primary visa holder, you do not need them. However, if you plan on studying or working in the US on these, you may need them as necessary.
No, it is not mandatory to apply for the dependent permit at the same time as the primary visa holder. You may apply for it at a later period of time separately. However, submitting them together will make the processing faster. Also, note that despite applying separately, your validity and stay duration will depend on the primary visa category.
The questions normally asked for the dependent visa interview revolve around your relationship with the primary visa holder, your intent of the visit, your period of stay, your finances, and so on. You will be asked to prove that your relationship is legitimate. You will also be asked about your plans during the visit, and if you intend on staying back in the US after the expiry.
You may convert a dependent visa into a work permit. However, for this purpose, your employer will have to find an application at the USCIS. Along with this, there are other complications while trying to convert the status. However, you may also be able to work while you are on a dependent permit. This again depends on the category. For example, you may not be allowed to work on an H4 or F2. You can work on an L2.