Now Domestic Violence Victims among H4 Visa Holders can Apply for Work Permit in USA

With the implementation of work authorization for the abused spouses of H1B visa holders, the victims of domestic violence among the H4 visa holders got a good reason to cheer in the current tumultuous political climate of USA.

Under the aegis of the 2005 Violence Against Women Act, the US Congress legalized work authorization for those who continue to suffer domestic abuse for the fear of losing their non-immigration status. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently brought it into effect much to the relief of abused H4 visa holders in USA.

Raksha, a non-profit South Asian women’s advocacy organization in Georgia, was one of the driving forces in mobilizing the US Citizenship and Immigration Services to implement the work authorization policy for the welfare of abused H4 visa holders. One in three women in immigrant communities is subjected to domestic violence, according to Aparna Bhattacharya, the executive director of Raksha.

USCIS, H4 visa news, US immigration, work permit in USA, Indian Eagle

USCIS released a new form for ‘Application for Employment Authorization for Abused Nonimmigrant Spouse’, titled I-765V. The spouses of highly-skilled foreign workers employed on H1B visas are entitled to H4 visa in the US. Most of H1B and H4 visa holders are from India. The new policy made it possible for those in or out abusive relationship with H1B visa holders to apply for temporary work authorization.

Those who have divorced their spouses (H1B visa holders) on grounds of domestic abuse have also been brought within the purview of the new policy for H4 visa holders. They can apply for work authorization for maximum two years. Generally, spouses of H1B visa holders stand the risk of losing their H4 status if they file for divorce. They become undocumented immigrants once the divorce is finalized.

Many H4 visa holders are threatened with the loss of immigration status if they walk out of the marriage. Thus abusive persons continue to subjugate their spouses to domestic violence, taking advantage of this rule. Divorce is no longer a cap on H4 visa holders’ rights to apply for temporary work authorization in the US. The abused spouses’ application for work permit has nothing to do with their partners’ status in the process of attaining legal permanent residency.

The new work authorization policy is a sort of empowerment for the abused H4 visa holders to be independent of their abusive partners and live out of the relationship without divorce, according to Nisha Karnani, an Indian American immigration attorney. The victims of domestic violence among H4 visa holders can also apply for a non-immigrant U visa, which is granted to those who have been subjected to physical or mental abuse.

However, the work authorization policy is not a permanent solution for the abused H4 visa holders. It does not entitle them to legal permanent residency in USA. They can apply for renewal of work permit on completion of two years. Once they get the work permit, they may have other better options for survival in the US.

Aparna Bhattacharya from Georgia-based Raksha, which currently advocates for 400 abused H4 visa holders, opined that continuation of work authorization for the abused spouses of H1B visa holders is not guaranteed in the Trump administration since the Department of Homeland Security has issued two directives to prioritize deportation of undocumented immigrants from USA.

Travel Beats is a portal for Indian Americans by Indian Eagle, a leading travel partner of Indians in USA. Travel Beats publishes the latest news and stories related o Indian Diaspora, air travel, young Indians, philanthropy, tourism and immigration.

31 thoughts on “Now Domestic Violence Victims among H4 Visa Holders can Apply for Work Permit in USA

  1. Mitesh Chauhan

    Here just posted the H4 woman’s issues but no body is trying to get H1 man’s sacrifice and how H1 man suffer at home. H1 mans still tries to balance his personal life and professional life. But no body knows about the life of H1 mans after he come back to home at evening.
    Whenever H1 mans are in office this all H4 women keep calls to her husband for very silly things and this women never want to live their life’s decision as independently. I know my wife has mental problem (Bipolar mood disorder) problem. I got married around 15 year before. I always try to persuade her for doing something by herself but she never do. Even she never go out from home alone whether it’s day time, evening or in morning because of scary nature. Whenever she has bipolar disorder attack she do screaming and she talks a lot which are irrelatively. If I bring her to store to get refreshing her mood so do crying in store too which gives trouble to H1 man. Even she don’t do her routine works at home and she don’t go for sleep till 2:00am or 3:00am. Also if I want to get fresh after coming to home I can’t watch TV as well because she feels that anything is there in TV serial the same thing will happen with her and she cry, yelling anything. In this situate if H1 person want to go out for not get into a trouble but how can he go in winter. This all things will not comes under domestic violence by law enforcement and in this women act. Also there is no any Violence Against Men Act so who is innocent? Nobody knows….
    I got into a trouble because of this weird law and weird law enforcement team. I remember when police has called to translator, the translator told that she might have mental issue or she is not able to understand my language which was in hindi.

    If there is law fro not hit to anyone then why law enforcement have some kind of law for this kind of daily harassment for H4 wife. Does it mean always man has to suffer on daily basis ? or man has to do suicide and get end of his life.

    • wellwisher

      So, sorry to know about your case. But not all the H1B are not that way. Indian men are generally grown up with superiority complex. And some times they can’t understand what H4 women go through here mentally. Even without any abuse, life for Indian women is stressful with lot of cooking, cleaning, taking care of kids etc. If they don’t know driving, it adds an extra dependency. Men should share some household work. If women had a good social life back in India, it really takes time to adjust here in initial years. It should be mutual understanding.

      Btw, in your case, is your wife on some medication? If not, consult a good psychiatrist . Have a certificate with you for her disorder. It probably help you to explain if any authority asks you.

      • sunmeet sethi

        Emotional violence is being used as a threat for my relationship as my wife threats me to file a case of emotional violence if I disagree with any of her demands. She bullies me, called police to threaten me with false allegations that I want to take sole custody of the child, just to prove a point that she can ruin my life if I say anything. Also she has anger issues and throws things at me, bites me couple of times, scares me that she will try to do suicide if I say anything but I just have to remain calm even though how much she humiliates me daily. Intention of this law was indeed great but unfortunately it is being used as a weapon to threat in some cases

      • SunmeetSethi

        Emotional violence is being used as a threat for my relationship as my wife threats me to file a case of emotional violence if I disagree with any of her demands. She bullies me, called police to threaten me with false allegations that I want to take sole custody of the child, just to prove a point that she can ruin my life if I say anything. Also she has anger issues and throws things at me, bites me couple of times, scares me that she will try to do suicide if I say anything but I just have to remain calm even though how much she humiliates me daily. Intention of this law was indeed great but unfortunately it is being used as a weapon to threat in some cases

      • Hope

        Everyone has their own story.Sorry to hear yours.Mine is completely different, we came here 10 years back after 14 long years of marriage i realized i can not tolerate his mood swings anymore.My husband does mantel and emotional abuse.Everyone thinks he is very nice but with me he is just moody if he wants he stays nice he stays nice and cheerful otherwise he wont even talk to me for days. if he wants me to be out from room he will tell me get lost from here rather then asking me to go out.I do all my house hold work take care of my kids and run my multi million dollar business but he still keep telling me m not good enough for anything.He tells me that i do not have confidence to talk to anyone though I handle all my clients on my own.He disrespect me infront of others , He says why are you talking too much infront of evryone.I want to get out of this relationship ASAP but its hard for me as I loved him a lot i love my kids and I have fear as he takes care of my taxes and company registration n all that kind of work.I do not know how will i handle those things and what will happen to my visa status.

      • Rakesh

        There is no data study to prove that Indian men are born with superiority either you dont know what is superiority or you have some malice intent.

        Take a look into Indian divorce cases, even court is now realizing this.

        The problem is, people take Western culture as gold standard and think that the problems that west has are same with Indian culture.

    • BAST Shankar Rao ARD

      dear sir,
      your story is worth to be noted, same story everywhere. these woman come from their illerate background from her ignorant parents and grandparents and haress us h1’s to bring money and and do home work. instead of cleaning and cooking and taking care of children they chat all day with their illiterate parents and start complaining, how ridiculous once this woman complained to her grandmother that she needs to wash laundry and iron the clothes, and how dare that dirty old illustrate woman calls my father and says your son is making me doing laundry. from day one one these woman are abusing the status of h1 and extracting all money. this woman will never go and work in her own cannot get any job other than a sales girl. now they have this law WAWA and misuse this law to their advantage . this woman cleverly is getting 50% of the money of my house after divorce even though she has never paid anything towards the house nor electricyt or garbage , just sat there and eat all my money, namak haram woman and namak haram her father and mother and siblings. never marry a illerate brute from India, my advice is marry a equal educated and equal job holder only save your 50% when divorce happens, make sure they pay half of all the expense for the home

      • Mahesh

        Hi I came on H4 Visa, I have finished my masters on H4 (applied change of status 20 months before no luck.. still waiting). My wife is treating me like a servant, I am here to do her needs. If I questioned that one you are doing for family that’s what she said always. I agree !! But that means I needs to dedicate my whole life ? Always she asks for divorce , By keeping my kid in my mind am not going forward. But this time I have decided to apply.
        If i ask for 10$ or 20$ she will say u always waste money .. u know the value of money. She do not know driving from last two and half years am doing the things and supporting her . What ever I do she bullies me like anything. Even If I change the phone charger from one port to another port within the same bed room she’s scolding me y u change the charger do not do it next time.
        Am the one always cooking and cleaning the house doing the house needs. I asked her to go parttime she said Who will take care the kid while am doing work ? everyone goes outside in the weekends who will take us ? am asking for kid thats what she said always.
        Yesterday I put my and my sons cloths in the washing machine she said havn’t u did mine ? I said do u r on u r own she said every husband doing it 🙁
        I called her mom and said she’s fighting all the time tell her that not to fight, and explained washing cloths example , she said lot of husbands r doing and u r not working what u will do 🙁
        I have 7 years of experience back in india. To support her I came here on H4 .
        I want to file for divorce this time and I dont want miss my kid.

  2. Raji


    Please let me know if an H4 divorced woman can apply for work permit based on non – domestic violence.

    I am teacher by profession who worked on H1B visa in a few districts. I also worked on H4 -EAD for about two years. Now I also added another certificate in my teaching based on which schools are selecting me and giving me the contract as well. I am just going everywhere thinking that my attorney can help me with this undetermined situation such as, waiving fee to change into H1B visa.

    My divorce is based on emotional blackmail from my in – law’s side (who are in India) for which I have no evidence and also, I was assured that the divorce would be canceled but it came to me as shock.

    Let me know if I can be given any help from your organization regarding my immigration status.

    Thank you for your time.

    • A

      Lol, No one gets dowry now but Men are paying dowry by giving substential amount just because of peace of paper. I am already seeing this but in another 20 years, sucessful men will prefer live-in relationship without involving uncle sam.

  3. Suneeta

    Where do i file for divorce ? India or in US ? As m on H4 i have no money to hire a lawyer !

  4. PunchBag

    hello, i am the wife of h1b, i want to divorce him bec i do not understand him a lot. and it wl be difficult to spend whole life. i dont have domestic violence issues, but fights is affecting my children. He is nice to me until i am understanding but the point is what should be the threshold of my understanding, till when wl i try to compromise on myself? so is there any way for an h4 woman who is the mother of two US citizen boys to have visa here without domestic violence and just a divorce.

  5. PunchBag

    also i dont want his money, i just want my mental peace and a job so that i can earn for my children.

    • H

      I completely understand you, I’m in the same boat. Apply for change of status to another legal status like F1/H1. After moving to legal status apply for divorce. In another situation simply stay if another residence may also be a solution. Please contact a attorney for advice.

  6. Anonymous

    There are many cases where men are the victim of domestic violence. Even if a man has got the restraining orders against his wife, these women oriented organizations supports the abusive wife. They will give top notch criminal guidance, tricks and cheap lawyers to continue harassing the men.
    My question is – is there is any organization who can help men dealing with abusive wife?

  7. Mitra

    I went US on my visitor visa after my marriage. I changed my status into H4 after reaching US. However, things didn’t work out and I came back to India and got divorced here.
    Is my visitor visa still eligible? If not can I re-issue it?

    • indianeagle Post author

      Hi Mitra! Generally, no. It is usually permitted to hold multiple visas as long as they are different visa classifications. However, the final decision rests with the Consular Officer.

  8. Anonymous

    Is there any possibility to get EAD in the existing H4 visa for a women who has suffered Domestic Violence. There is genuine case a filed with the police . Based on this can she get EAD approved

  9. Kavitha

    I was initially admitted to USA on h4,later I went to india to get my F1 and I was admitted on F1 to the usa last time I traveled. Then my abusive husband changed my status back to h4(cos) while living inside the USA so currently I am on h4 got all the evidence to prove abuse… Now, my question is, since I was last admitted to USA ON F1 am i eligible for the h4 ead for domestic abuse spouses provisions.. while filling form i noticed it says,last admitted to US on h4 as one of the requirements..

  10. Dr . Pranoti Khande

    Can you please contact me I am in trouble …. My husband is cheating on me , when i checked his phone i got a flirt talk with his office colleague …. It really shattered me ….. My profession I am a dentist and interested to pursue my masters …… When I saw this messages and ask him , he refused to accept it … And warn me that he will not finance me for my further education …. And also he said he will send me back to my home country … But I am a well qualified girl , I can’t tolerate this… Hope you understand my situation …. I need your help ..
    Thank you .

  11. Nupur

    I am currently on h4 and has a babygirl around 4 years. My husband mentally tortures both of us. He has his I 140 but doesn’t let me apply for h4 ead. Actually all this torture made me loose my temper on my daughter twice and he took videos of her crying. Also once I just picked up my hand and showed her indicating hitting whichv he took photo of.

    Apart from that he also is making me pay for Indian grocery. The amount I have spent is $700 right now. He says he will pay but he doesn’t. I have worked earlier in US as I was on F1 before my daughter was born so have some savings.

    I want to know if this is a domestic abuse case and what relief can I get for me and my daughter being in US.

  12. Ravi

    Hi, I’m on H1B and got EAD done for my wife.
    She started working from 1 year, she used to do research on these topics discussed here.
    From 1 year on, she started arguing/fighting with me for almost everything. She then built a solid case of Domestic abuse Protection order against me, separated me from my daughter, filed for Divorce and also got me evicted from the country.
    Now using the guidelines you mentioned here, she is filing for her work permit etc. etc.
    She always fantasied to be in US but I never thought she would get to such extent.

    How can I make relevant people aware of this situation that she is taking advantage of American values/liberties in playing this cruel game just to be in US ?

    Its been 5 years now, she is not returning to India not allowing my 9 yr old daughter to as she is only focused on getting work-permits and stuff.

    What should I do ? How can I complain to whom that she is mis utilizing these things at the expense of marriage and family life ?

    • Saa

      I think better to apply U visa or tourist visa which ever possible from India as a father mostly you had right as a parent . Once u come to USA file a case for child custody by showing that she is taking sole custody by falsely throwing you out of the country. For your options to apply go and visit USCIS


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