Many H-1B employees are accompanied by their spouses and children while conducting their teaching and research at UWM. Spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 may be eligible for dependent visas.

H-4: Dependent of H-1B

Dependents of Foreign Nationals who are at UWM as H-1B employees may apply for the H-4 visa. H-4 dependents may travel independently of their spouse or parent. H-4 dependent children may study at primary and secondary schools and both children and spouses may study at post-secondary institutions if they have graduated from secondary school. While some H-4 spouses are eligible to apply to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for employment authorization, most H-4 dependents are not eligible for work authorization.

Extension of H-4 Visa Status

H-4 status derives from H-1B status and, as a result, the dates of validity are tied to the primary visa holders approval dates. When it is time for the H-1B visa holder to have their H-1B extended, it is also time to prepare to file for extension for H-4 dependents. H-4 extensions may be filed concurrently when UWM files an H-1B extension if the appropriate USCIS form, filing fee, and supporting documentation is provided along with the H-1B materials for the extension. Alternatively, H-4 extensions may be granted through visa application at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate and then admission to the U.S. in H-4 status. We recommend that you speak with CIE’s Brooke Thomas ( approximately 6 months before H-4 extensions must be done so you have time to plan.

Visitor Visa / Visa Waiver

Dependents who will not reside in Milwaukee long-term with their H-1B spouse or parent and who are in the U.S. only for vacation or short social visits may wish to enter the U.S. on the B-2 Visitor visa or using the Visa Waiver Program (where applicable). B-2/Visa Waiver Visitors are not permitted to enroll in a course of study or to engage in employment in the U.S.

An H-1B visa holder’s household members who are not eligible for dependent status, such as cohabitating partners (both opposite or same-sex), extended family members, and other household members, may be eligible for the B-2 Visitor visa and an increased period of admission to the U.S.