It has been a while since I wrote about my US-India stories, right? 😉 The US is always a dream country for many from India. The ‘H1B’ visa is the highly sought after visa and is one of the most popular work visas to the US. It is primarily used by companies to fill positions by employing skilled foreign labor.
Every foreign worker(eg. Satya Nadella, Sundar Pichai) in the US would have gone through the H1 visa grind. Most individuals who come to work in the US, start off with the H1 visa and if all goes well, move onto apply for the Green card or permanent residency. Five years after one has acquired the GC, one can apply for US citizenship.
So, where does H4 visa fit in now? H4 visa is the dependent visa to H1 visa issued by the US immigration service. The spouse and the children of H1 visa holders are issued H4 visas.
During my entire stay for 14 years in the US, I have noticed it is mostly the wives who are on the H4 visa. I am sure you are thinking what is the “woe” related to this visa… it is just that individuals on this visa do not have work privileges and that might be bummer for many…(there is a reason behind it)
While many are excited to just join their husbands on their American journey, the H4 visa women’s career comes to a grinding halt. Most(if not all) are very well educated and highly experienced women who cannot work because of their visa status. The H4 visa wives unfortunately go from active workplace leaders to waiting- to- work professionals. It is a frustrating experience for many as they try and polish their resume with new skills. They also learn to drive on American roadways all along thinking that they will work some day.
So, what happens next?
Many like me find work sponsorships. Others, wait till their husbands get their green card(after which both husband and wife can work) which used to be a good 5 years when we were there(but not sure how long it takes now)
Some even seek US higher education and manage to get a work visa after that. All in all, it is quite a game of visas and waiting for the woman who moves in behind her husband. While many adjust to the waiting game there are others who think their career would have been better in India after all…