Australian spouses can work
The E3 visa for Australians which is similar to the H1 allows the spouses to work. This visa is fairly new and can be used to defend allowing H4s to work.
h4/ h1 decoupling... efforts....
I tried to raise this issue with uscis ombudsman... the law itself really does not state anything about h4 /h1 time being coupled. I and my wife read the actual law ( my wife was working as attorney in india and then went to law school here as a H4 and now since it is more than 6 years she has been on H4, she cannot work after spending roughly around 60k).
This was my entire conversation
Thank you for your e-mail.
In terms of clarification from USCIS on the H-4 issue: You may be able
to obtain clarification by contacting USCIS directly. However, USCIS'
webpage indicates that USCIS' general counsel's office does not respond
directly to inquiries made by the public. As such, you may submit your
comments in regards to immigration through the Department of Homeland
Security inquiry page, which can be located at
Additionally, the CIS Ombudsman's website may be of interest to you. The
CIS Ombudsman does publish the recommendations submitted to USCIS on its
webpage, which is updated regularly. The CIS Ombudsman's website is
We trust that this information is helpful. Please let us know if our
office can be of additional assistance to you.
CIS Ombudsman's office
Sent: Wednesday, June 21, 2006 8:13 PM
Subject: RE: H4 stay not to be counted against H1B
Thanks for the reply from your office. I was wondering
if there is precedure to know about how i could follow
my original comment on "H4 stay not to be counted
against H1B". Is there are way i could get
clarification from USCIS on this issue.
> Dear xxx,
> Thank you for your recent e-mail to the office of
> the Citizenship and
> Immigration Services Ombudsman (CIS Ombudsman). We
> appreciate your
> comments and suggestions in relation to the
> applicability of the 6-year
> limit on H-4s in relation to your H-1B status very
> much. Your e-mail was
> forwarded to the appropriate persons within our
> Under the Homeland Security Act of 2002, it is the
> CIS Ombudsman's
> office's statutory mission to assist United States
> Citizenship and
> Immigration Services (USCIS) customers, to identify
> problem areas in the
> immigration process, and to propose changes to the
> practices of USCIS. Process change recommendations
> and comments from
> individuals like you are the best source for
> identifying systemic
> problems in the immigration benefits process. Our
> office will consider
> your comments and suggestions as we develop
> recommendations to improve
> USCIS' practices and procedures.
> Once again, thank you for taking the time to contact
> the CIS Ombudsman's
> office, and for giving the Ombudsman the opportunity
> to serve you. The
> Ombudsman looks forward to the day when he can
> report that the work of
> this office has been accomplished because our vision
> of a world-class
> immigration benefits system has been achieved. Your
> contribution takes
> us a step closer to reaching this goal.
> Ms. Brown,
> On behalf of
> Mr. Prakash
> CIS Ombudsman
> -----Original Message-----
> From: xxx
> Sent: Friday, June 09, 2006 7:31 PM
> To: cisombudsman
> Subject: H4 stay not to be counted against H1B
> Acknowledging that the Current interpretation of
> of H4 stay also counted against the H1B arises from
> more restrictive terminology in the immigration
> regulations, when compared to the statute itself
> called the Immigration and Nationality Act, USCIS
> indicated that, if released, the memo would
> the counting of time for H1Bs and H-4s, and permit
> each status for the maximum six year period. It
> be appreciative if your office could speed up the
> issuance of this memo.
> In my case where i have my I-140 approved but unable
> to file for I-485 due to retrogression, it would be
> very helpful for my wife who is unable to work
> for H1) due to staying on H4 Visa for the last 6 1/2
> years. she had spent her first 3 years going to law
> school on H4 and then tried to be a good model
> by staying at home till our daughter became 3 years.
> Now the reasons for her unable to be on employment
> the above interpretation of law and the
> which cannot be helped.
> Thanks for reviewing this email and hope to see the
> expected USCIS memo giving us some relief.
As an internationally trained teacher, already in the 7th year on H4, about to complete US masters in education, I find it very disappointing not to be able to put my diversified skills into practice.
The mentioned memo on 'decoupling of h4/h1' has not been issued and perhaps it will not be. But, it will be interesting to see if your wife can get to the bottom of this.
In the meantime, I am considering tranfering to j1 visa for teachers and moving with my husband to Canada, therefore abandoning GC altogether...
So please post any news regarding this issue...
All wives should now file for labor certification too!
Your friend's wife should have applied for labor certification as well. I would not blame the USCIS/immigration system in this case. But this example should help caution others who might be in similar situation.
What exactly is your argument? That she was irresponsible or negligent to apply for Labor? What if she wanted to start it, but the company was either slow or not responsive?
After all, the employer must be willing to start Labor Cert.
What if she tried to change employer to the one that is more "GC friendly"..? and only was confronted with the option of moving to another State & City, too far away from her husband and children.
I am constantly amazed how often people asume that it is so easy to apply for Labor and succesfully negotiate family and career.
The E3 visa is a special give away freebie for US allies. It was a "gift" to Australia for having signed the free trade deal. Singapore got a similar freebie in terms of a specail H1B quota for having signed a free trade deal. I don't think the US government will extend something like this to citizens from any country.
H1B H4 Decoupling
Did you recieve any furthur Information from the CISOmbudsmans office.
Pls update us here. I am eagerly waiting for the memo that would decouple the h1 and h4 visas.
Also you had indicated that the "law" does not couple h1 and h4 explicitly. It is the interpretation of the law that says h4 time counts towards h1 time. Because USCIS is under the DHS probably the Homeland Security or Ombudsman can change this restrictive interpretation........Hopefully
I too am eagerly waiting H1-H4 decoupling memo. I have a open job offer since Nov 2005 which I cannot take up I fear that the employer's patience will wear off.
Guys, please post any info recieved immediately.
Check out Murthy's chat transcrpt
Attn Murthy mentions this...the USCIS has to decide on this..it might take months or years or never.
Its not worth expecting anything good from these guys, they know your problem and spend twice the time to screw things up while it only takes half the time to solve the issue...
From Murthy Chat Script
This information is from murthy chat, of sept 11.
Chat User : Good evening, Ms. Murthy. In your May 05, 2006 NewsBrief, you had mentioned "Decoupling H1B and H-4 Time." Please let us know if there is any update on this.
Attorney Murthy : The USCIS often mentions their intentions on how they plan to interpret or apply a particular law during seminars or meetings. Some of the USCIS's plans take a few months, others a few years, and sometimes their intentions may not materialize. The USCIS plans to decouple the time on H1B and H-4 status, but so far, they have not issued any final or even interim regulations on this issue. The USCIS realizes that it is not fair for the regulations to restrict the H-4s to the same timeframes as H1Bs when the law itself did not contain any timeframe restriction for H-4s. We hope that some guidance is issued in the near future as we have written to the USCIS on this matter and requested favorable consideration. We were excited about the possibility of this important change that we would have helped to bring about. If there were such a change, we would report it promptly in our MurthyBulletin and post it on MurthyDotCom.
They have indicated that the Murthy law firm had written to USCIS for a favorable change. Can IV too write to USCIS in favor of this memo.
Is it advisable ?
This is from murthy chat Nov 20 06
Chat User : In May 2006, the USCIS announced that they will be issuing new guidance on H1B program and the possibility of decoupling the time spent on H1B and H-4 visas. Until now, no new regulation has been issued. Does that mean the decoupling regulation is no longer under consideration?
Attorney Murthy : Often, with the government, their processing time for issues is much slower that in the private industry for various reasons, including needing input from several government agencies with differing interests. Sometimes, we see a matter take years to germinate and, in other cases, it falls by the wayside. The USCIS has said that they understand the issue and need to address decoupling. Exactly when and if this will ever materialize is difficult to say.
After reading this, I feel the faintest hope for the H4 spouses had gone away. Now the economy is doing well, new jobs are created, but those on h4 visa can have no hope.
In-state Tuition on H4
Yup...I am on H4..and paid in-state tuition in a community college. I just had to meet the residency requirements (3 months in my case). No questions whatsoever, were asked. However, please note, these req. change from county to county.
felix31 - can you please provide a link to USCIS memo that you refering to. I am on H1B and may go for a part-time MBA in Virginia. Will I get instate tuition?
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