Spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 are eligible for dependent immigration status based on you as the primary immigration beneficiary. H-1B dependents hold H-4 status, O-1 dependents hold O-3 status, TN dependents hold TD status, and E-3 dependents hold E-3D status.

Dependents are not allowed to work in the US and are ineligible for a Social Security Number (SSN). However, they can obtain an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) for health insurance and tax purposes and can obtain an Alabama driver license. Dependents can also enroll in classes part-time or full-time.

Coming to the US for the first time

Your dependents do not need UAB to file any applications for them and do not need their own USCIS approval notices in order to apply for their first visa to enter the US. However, they do need to complete and submit Form DS-160, pay the necessary visa fees. Your dependents can then enter the US with their own visa and a copy of your USCIS approval notice.

Extending or changing status from inside the US

If your dependents are already inside the US, they must file an application with USCIS in order to change or extend their current immigration status. Your spouse must complete and file Form I-539, and your spouse must complete and sign (in black ink) a Form I-539A for all non-US citizen children age 14 or younger. Your non-US citizen child(ren) over the age of 14 should sign Form I-539A (in black ink). ISSS will include a dependent application that you provide to us along with the institution's work authorization petition on your behalf as a courtesy, but is not responsible for the content or accuracy of the information provided on dependent forms.

USCIS requires two separate fees for dependent applications. The current fee amounts are $370 for the Form I-539 and an additional $85 per dependent for biometrics (fingerprinting). There is no separate filing fee for Form I-539A. USCIS accepts checks or money orders payable to “US Department of Homeland Security.” Do not use any other abbreviations.

Once the forms are accepted by USCIS, your dependents will receive a notice from USCIS at your home address containing an appointment date and time to appear at the USCIS office closest to their address for a biometrics services appointment. USCIS does not apply the premium processing rule to dependent applications filed with the primary petition. Do not expect your dependents’ applications to be approved within 15 calendar days.