The straight answer to questions about H4 visas and dependent spouses.
This is just an overview of commonly asked questions.
Please use this link Find an Ally to find expert advice.
H4 visas are attached to your spouse's H1B residency permit
You are eligible to get a driver’s license, an education, and open bank accounts. With an H4, Anjali could have got a job by adding an H4EAD work authorization,.
“Once you’re cut off from the H1B,” said Shah Peerally, President of a Bay Area Immigration law firm, “You have no money because your H1B spouse is making the money. There’s no provision for the law to protect them.”
Shah Peerally recommends that brides marrying US citizens come to the US on a marriage visa rather than a fiancée visa, “to establish a base level of protection” if things go wrong. There is not much we can do if a spouse does not petition for the status to be legalized by marriage,"
On custody of US citizen children
US courts award custody to the US citizen parent or the parent who has a legal residency permit.
“Courts have to make decisions based on the child’s best interests,” Dorchen Leidholdt, Director, Legal Center, at Sanctuary for Families.
“What tends to happen when the wife has no immigration papers, is that the judge will give the US citizen kids to the spouse who has residency in America, ‘because that’s my jurisdiction.’ The judge in Family Law court doesn’t have a choice. because the state of California does not have jurisdiction or control over defendants out of state or out of the country.” Shah Peerally, Immigration lawyer.
By US law, you need proof of a registered marriage, or a green card, or evidence of parentage to a US-born child.
Do Immigration Issues Belong in Family Court?
Family Courts should NOT be using the victim’s lack of full immigration status or lack of any immigration status against her in the court proceedings,” Dorchen Leidholdt, Sanctuary for Families
Even if “clients are partially/undocumented and in family court that should not make a difference. It really shouldn’t impede them in any way from pursuing their rights to civil protective orders, custody, or visitation of their children.” Dorchen Leidholdt, Director, Legal Center, at Sanctuary for Families.
Family Law is by state while Immigration Law is federally mandated. The two courts “will never talk to each other,.One is state and one is federal. That’s not going to change.” Shah Peerally, Immigration lawyer.