If the scholar is in the United States and has dependents (spouse and unmarried children under age 21) who are also in the United States and who will apply for H-4 status, the dependents must complete and sign Forms I-539/I-539A and submit them along with the required documents and a check for the $370 application fee, payable to Department of Homeland Security. If Form I-539/I-539A is being submitted for a minor child (under age 14), it must be signed by a parent on behalf of the minor child.
Please Note: Dependents coming to MIT from outside the U.S. do not need to submit Forms I-539/I-539A. They just need to obtain an H-4 entry visa stamp from a U.S. Consulate in order to be admitted in H-4 status.
Please Note: This information is provided as a courtesy to the dependents of H-1B scholars at MIT. It does not constitute legal advice. Form I-539 is a personal application and the ISchO cannot provide you with further guidance or advise you on how to complete it.
Form I-539 is used by dependents (spouse and children under age 21) who are applying for a change to or extension of H-4 status inside the United States. The “applicant” (usually the spouse or the oldest child) completes Form I-539. A supplement, Form I-539A, must be completed for each additional child (or “co-applicant”).
Following are some suggestions for dependent(s) completing Form I-539 H-4 applications.
Please note: these suggestions are provided as a courtesy to the dependents of H-1B scholars at MIT. They do not constitute legal advice.
In any and all boxes on the application that do not apply to you, write “none” or “N/A” (not applicable).
PART 1: Information About You (the family applicant, not the H-1B employee).
- U.S. Mailing Address is where you receive mail.
- U.S. Physical Address is your U.S. residential address (usually the Mailing Address and the Physical Address are the same).
- Current Nonimmigrant Status is your current visa status
PART 2: Application Type
- Check box "2" if you are requesting an extension of H-4 status.
- Check box "3a" if you are requesting a change to H-4 status from another visa status. Write "H-4 dependent" in box 3c.
- Check box "4" if you are the only dependent included in the H-4 application.
- Check box "5a" if more than one dependent is included in the H-4 application. In 5b, enter the total number of dependents included in the H-4 application.
NOTE: Each additional dependent, or co-applicant, must complete a supplement, called Form I-539A, separately. A parent may sign Form I-539A on behalf of a child under age 14.
PART 3: Processing Information
- 1. Put the same end date that is being requested for the H-1B beneficiary.
- 2a. Check the "Yes" box if you are submitting the H-4 application separately, and the MIT employee's H-1B petition has already been approved.
- 3a. Check the “Yes, Filed with this I-539” box if you are submitting the H-4 application with the MIT employee's H-1B petition.
PART 4: Additional Information About the Applicant
- Physical Address Abroad is your address in your home country (NOT your U.S. residential address)
- If you answered "no" to Question 14, write the following in the appropriate section in Part 8 on page 7:
- “Fully supported by spouse”:
- MIT department:
- Start and end dates of MIT appointment:
- Current annual salary:
- If you answered "yes" to Question 14, provide the information requested in Part 8 on page 7 and include a photocopy of the EAD (Employment Authorization Document) authorizing employment, or other proof of work eligibility.
- If you answered "yes" to Question 15, provide the information requested in Part 8 on page 7 and include copies of Forms DS-2019 or other documentation of J status.
PART 5: Applicant's Statement, Contact Information, Declaration, Certification and Signature
Note: If Form I-539 is being submitted for a minor child, it must be signed by a parent on behalf of the minor child. It is recommended that you sign in blue ink.
Attach a copy of each of the following items. Be sure to also keep a complete copy of the application and supporting documents for your records.
- I-94 Admission Record printed from https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/home OR paper Form I-94 ("I-94 card"), front and back, for each dependent. The date stamp on the I-94 card must be legible.
- Passport photo and information pages(s) for each dependent
- Any current or previous H-4 approval notices for each dependent
- If changing to H-4 from another visa status: any other visa eligibility documents (Form DS-2019, I-20, etc.) for each dependent
- Proof of marriage (spouse) and/or relationship (child: birth certificate or something verifying child's relationship to the H-1B applicant), plus official translation into English if necessary.
- EAD (Employment Authorization Document), if applicable
The H-4 application may be submitted concurrently with the H-1B petition, or separately, after the H-1B has been submitted. The application fee is $370, regardless of the number of dependents requesting H-4 status. You may pay the $370 fee a with money order, personal check, or cashier’s check payable to Department of Homeland Security. Or, you may pay by credit card using Form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transactions.
Please Note: Even if Form I-539 is submitted concurrently with the H-1B petition under premium processing, the H-4 application may or may not be processed in the same timeframe. If H-4 dependent(s) have upcoming travel plans, please discuss with your H-1B Advisor in the ISchO before submitting Form I-539.
Please read the following before signing the Form I-539:
Penalties: If you knowingly and willfully falsify or conceal a material fact or submit a false document with this application, USCIS will deny the benefit you are seeking and may deny any other immigration benefit. In addition, you will face severe penalties provided by law and may be subject to criminal prosecution.
Privacy Act Notice: USCIS asks for the information on this form and associated evidence to determine if you have established eligibility for the immigration benefit you are seeking. USCIS's legal right to ask for this information is in 8 U.S.C. 1184 and 1258: "We may provide this information to other government agencies. Failure to provide this information and any requested evidence may delay a final decision or result in denial of your request."
Page updated May 2023