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Family members of the H-1B worker are admitted to the United States in the H-4 category. Qualifying family members include only the spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old. Family members are admitted for the same period for which the principal family member is admitted.
Family members may alternatively be admitted in other nonimmigrant categories for which they qualify, such as the F-1 category for children or spouses who will be students or the H-1B category for a spouse whose employer has also obtained the approval of an H-1B petition to employ the spouse.
H-4 family members may undertake studies while remaining in the H-4 category. Family members cannot engage in any form of employment in the H-4 category, however. In order to work, family members must obtain USCIS permission through the approval of a change of status application to a nonimmigrant category permitting employment.
Since H4 visa holders are not allowed to work, they are not issued the Social Security Number. However, they get the tax ID called ITIN. ITIN form should be sent to the IRS address, which is separate from the tax return address. W-7 form should be filed at the time of filing tax returns to get ITIN.
H-4 visa holders are allowed to open bank accounts and get a driver’s licenses.
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