Work Authorization for H1-B Spouses Proposed

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While H1-B visa holders are authorized to bring their spouses and dependents under the age of 21 to live with them legally in the United States under H-4 visas, H-4 visa holders are not authorized to work in the United States. While they can attend school and obtain drivers licenses, spouses are not authorized to work for the stay that tends to last three to six years. That’s a long time for a family to go on a single salary, especially if they are engaged in the process of obtaining green cards which can take up to ten years.

A proposal has been made earlier this year to grant some H1-B spouses the right to work in the United States if their H1-B visa holding spouse’s visa has been extended or if the family is in the process of becoming permanent residents. However, many believe that this is too narrow of a scope even though it is going in the right direction. A better option would be to grant work authorization to all H1-B visa holder’s spouses for the duration of their stay to make it more attractive for highly skilled foreign workers to choose to come to the United States rather than the plethora of other countries who would allow their spouses to work.

Your spouse and children can still go to school in the United States with an H-4 visa regardless of whether or not the changes go into effect. To apply for school in the United States, they will need to have their foreign credentials evaluated for US equivalence. You will also need to have your foreign education evaluated for your H1-B petition. To do this you need to find a credential evaluation agency with the authority to convert classroom contact hours into credit hours to show equivalence to a US degree or diploma because different countries have different numbers of years required for schooling and different academic content.

For a free consultation on you or your spouse or child’s academic credentials, visit

This article was written by Rebecca Little