Law Offices of Stuart J. Reich, PLLC

Practice Limited to Immigration & Nationality Law

11 Broadway, Suite 615
New York, NY 10004

(212) 430-6582 phone
(212) 430-6583 facsimile

Can I bring my family (spouse and children) with me to live in the US while I’m there to work or study?

Q: If I’m coming to the US on a visa to work or study, can I bring my spouse (my husband or wife) and my children?

A: Almost all nonimmigrant visas intended for work or study in the US have a "derivative" status that permits spouses and children under the age of 21 to accompany the principal applicant to the U.S. For instance, the F-1 student visa has an F-2 category for spouses and children, the H-1B specialty occupation visa has an H-4 category for spouses and children, etc.

In most cases, spouses and family will not be permitted to do the same things that the principal visa permits the principal applicant to do, though children can attend school and spouses in certain derivative visa classes can obtain employment authorization. A very few – the E-1/E-2, E-3, the L-1 and in some circumstances the H-4 among a very few others - allow spouses to get employment authorization.

Where a spouse can't get employment authorization but wishes to work, they would need their own principal nonimmigrant visa which would permit employment in order to do this.


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The above is presented for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship with our firm. The information provided should not be used as guidance in pursuing an immigration matter absent consultation with a qualified immigration attorney.