Are you ignorant about the H4 visa application process? The reason I write posts for H4 visa holders or H4 visa aspirants is because it is not enough to have basic knowledge anymore. If you have gotten to this post that means you are curious and you want to know what to expect in your H4 visa interview or life on the H4 visa. Many have suggested that the enough information was not available to them at the time they were filling the H4 visa form or making other H4 visa related decisions. They complain that they took wrong decisions due to lack of knowledge. While this is true it is better to ‘know in advance’ than brood later. In an era of instant connectivity, accessible web browsing, and messaging you have to be on top of things in advance! H4 visa applicants: Two sides of a continuum From my experience there are two ends of the continuum. At one end are people who are planning to apply for the H4 visa and want to know exactly what to expect. They want to know everything about the visa system in the U.S., how to apply for the H4 visa, general grounds for H4 visa denial, paperwork, facing the H4 visa interview, life in the U.S. on the H4 visa, so on and so forth. At the other end of the continuum are people who do not want to know anything. They are excited about a change in their life and they are ready to soak in whatever comes their way. Usually someone else fills their forms (DS-160), prepares their interview packet and prepares them for the visa interview. Once they get through the H4 visa interview, it is a ride full of discoveries for them! They discover that they cannot work on the H4 visa, they discover that they can study and drive on the H4 visa, they discover that they can purchase a house on the H4 visa and make investments. Now there is a difference in being prepared and being ignorant. Honestly there is less room to complain if you were prepared, that is, you knew everything about the H4 visa in advance. Yet if you are ignorant of what to expect, you may have to face consequences that you may not like. My advice is: Don’t be ignorant. Know what to expect during the H4 visa interview and life in general on the H4 visa in United States. Know that all the U.S. immigration authorities want to know your intention for the duration of stay and purpose of visit to the U.S. They assume that every alien (you and other visa applicants) actually want to live in the U.S. permanently. 1. Want to stay? Want to go back? Know that you will get the H4 visa only if you have sufficiently satisfied the interviewing officer that you will return to your home country. Say things like ‘I want to stay with my spouse only for the duration of his stay. After that I want to return to my country.’ 2. Intention of entering U.S. Know that you may not be allowed to enter the U.S. if you suggest that your intention to enter the U.S. is different from that required by the H4 visa issued to you. So at the port of entry (POE) just say that you want to live with your spouse (on the H4 visa) and not that you want to visit U.S. (you need a tourist visa for that not a dependent visa). Mostly the H4 visas are pretty straightforward. This point makes more sense for people applying for different visas. For example, X applied for a tourist visa and on inspection of his bags the authorities found pictures of her fiancée in U.S. and an engagement ring. She actually intended to marry her fiancée and not visit different places in the U.S. This is wrong. 3. Burden of proof lies on you Know that you have the burden of proof to make your case during the H4 visa interview. Follow logic and prepare a mental case in advance. File your paperwork accordingly. Present a persuasive case and do not look like you ‘don’t care much’. You have to care enough to get the H4 visa otherwise you may run the risk of not getting the visa at all. Read about the H4 visa interview experience of other members on this website. 4. First impressions during the H4 visa interview Know that your first impression has an important impact. I often tell people to dress well, speak clearly, and be polite. The interviewing officer will appreciate your honesty and take a mental note of your bad manners. Obviously there are no statistics to prove that good manners can get you the H4 visa but in effect just be good! Look neat and presentable not shabby and not showered! 5. More paperwork after the H4 visa interview Know that you will be asked to submit more paperwork if you do not have sufficient documents at the time of the H4 visa interview. This is called a form 220 (g) or form 221 (g). This only means that the U.S. embassy requires you to give more paperwork to correctly establish the premise of granting you a visa. If you do everything right, there is a high likelihood of getting the H4 visa. The problem is that the perception of right and wrong is different for each individual. There is no recipe for success for the H4 visa interview. Just follow the rules, do all the paperwork, and answer all the questions honestly. Good luck! Remember that during the H4 visa interview an error in replying to a question, or misrepresentation of facts, or simply not knowing what to say, can complicate plans to move to the United States with your spouse. Similarly if you have received the H4 visa you may find it hard to adjust to life in U.S. if you have little perspective of what to expect. Then again there is a fine line in ‘knowing too much’ and ‘knowing too little’. Having just the right amount of information on the H4 visa application process can go a long way in helping you to make the right decisions. Got questions on H4 visa application process and life in the U.S.? Discuss now..