If the employee is already in the United States and is filing for a change of status to H-1B or is requesting an extension of current H-1B status, his or her dependents must also petition to change to H-4 dependent status. Dependents are defined as a spouse or an unmarried minor child under the age of 21. Dependents who currently hold another non-immigrant status independent of the employee, or who are eligible to hold another non-immigrant status, do not need to file for a change to H-4 status.
Applying for a Change of Status
To change a dependent's status, ISSS must submit Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Non-Immigrant Status, to USCIS with the employee's H-1B petition. The employee or dependent should complete Form I-539 and submit it to ISSS. The employee must pay the USCIS filing fee for each change of status petition submitted ($300) for his or her dependents. If the dependents are not currently in the United States, they must apply for an H-4 entry visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate prior to entering the country.
Dependents Studying in the United States
Children of H-1B employees working at DU may attend public school or enroll in university courses while holding valid H-4 status. However, once the child reaches the age of 21, he or she must acquire another non-immigrant status to continue studying in the United States. If the child is attending DU, he or she should meet with an international student advisor to discuss which immigration status would be appropriate to change to in order to remain in the country. If the child is enrolled at another school or university, he or she should meet with an international student advisor there to discuss the change of status process.