Planning a trip to the United States on an H-category work visa? You don’t have to go it alone! According to the U.S. Department of State, your spouse and unmarried children (under age 21) are eligible to accompany you to the U.S. under the H-4 visa classification.
What Is Permitted Under the H-4 Visa?
An approved H-4 visa remains valid for the same period of time as your principal H-category visa. This means that when your H-category visa expires, so do the H-4 visas belonging to your spouse and children.
The H-4 visa will allow your family members to travel in and out of the country for as long as the visa is valid. H-4 family members are permitted to study, open a bank account, and obtain a driver’s license during their time in the U.S. However, only certain H-4 visa holders who are approved for a work permit are allowed to work in the USA.
How Can My Family Apply for H-4 Visa Status?
Application steps may vary by U.S. Embassy or Consulate. You can visit USEmbassy.gov to see specific instructions for the U.S. Embassy or Consulate nearest to you.
For a general overview of the H-4 visa application process, your spouse should take note of the following steps:
1. Obtain a valid passport for yourself and each of your dependent children.
2. Take color photos which meet the photograph requirements found here.
3. Complete the online nonimmigrant visa application, Form DS-160, and print the confirmation page.
4. Schedule an appointment for your visa interview. To find the nearest embassy or consulate, search for your country of residence at USEmbassy.gov.
5. Pay the $160 non-refundable visa application fee. (Also determine whether you’ll owe an additional issuance fee – to be paid upon visa approval – by selecting your nationality at the U.S. Department of State’s “Visitor Visa” page.)
6. Gather the required documents. These may include a valid passport and birth certificate for each applicant, the Form DS-160 confirmation page, your marriage certificate, the principal visa holder’s Form I-129 (Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker) and employment verification letter, and your application fee payment receipt. (If the principle H-visa holder is already working in the U.S., be prepared with a pay stub from his or her current place of work and income tax.)
7. Attend your visa interview. See tourist visa interview practice questions and interview tips here.
H-4 Visa Health Insurance
H-4 visa health insurance can provide international medical coverage to you, your spouse, and your children as you work on a short-term basis in the USA.
Why Do We Need H-4 Visa Health Insurance?
Though working in the U.S. is an incredible opportunity, international travel can still pose a risk. Here are 3 reasons to consider visa health coverage for you and your family:
1. There’s always a chance you could encounter a travel mishap, accident, or illness that calls for medical insurance. After all, you’ll be navigating an unfamiliar country, trying new foods, coming into contact with foreign bacteria, and possibly dealing with the effects of jet lag.
2. Your domestic health insurance may not cover you in the United States. Even if your insurance provides coverage beyond the borders of your home country, this coverage may be limited. It’s important to understand that people in the U.S. are responsible for their own healthcare costs, meaning you will be financially liable for any medical costs you incur as you live and work within the country.
3. Your visa may require you to show proof of your ability to pay return travel, lodging, and medical costs, notes Path2USA. An H-4 visa health policy like Atlas America could help demonstrate your ability to pay for medical expenses by showing that you have coverage for unexpected injury or illness. Plus, when you purchase travel health insurance like Atlas America, you’ll be given access to a visa letter which can serve as proof of insurance.
Did You Know? According to healthcare.gov, the average cost of a 3-day hospital stay in the U.S. is around $30,000.
What Does H-4 Visa Health Insurance Cover?
In the face of a medical or travel emergency in the United States, an H-4 visa health plan like WorldTrips' Atlas America insurance can cover unexpected medical costs, emergency travel-related expenses, and even some benefits typical of standard travel insurance, like Trip Interruption and Lost Checked Luggage.
Here are just a few coverages and scenarios to help you discover how Atlas America insurance is there for you and your family as you live and work in the USA:
- Unexpected Medical Expenses – If you become unexpectedly injured or fall suddenly ill and need to seek medical treatment, Atlas America will provide access to a nationwide network of doctors and hospitals. You will also be covered for eligible medical expenses under benefits such as Hospital Room and Board, Local Ambulance, Emergency Medical Evacuation, and Intensive Care Unit.
- Supplemental Travel Expenses – If your carrier loses your checked luggage or your trip is interrupted due to a death in your immediate family, Atlas America will reimburse you for eligible costs.
- Emergency Reunion or Bedside Visit Expenses – If you are hospitalized following a covered emergency medical evacuation or confined to your hospital’s intensive care unit following a covered injury or illness, Atlas America will cover roundtrip costs to fly one relative of your choosing from your home country to your bedside. The Emergency Reunion benefit will also cover reasonable meals and accommodations for the relative for up to 15 days.
- Expenses Resulting from Death – In the unfortunate event of your death, Atlas America will cover eligible costs resulting from your local burial or cremation or the repatriation of your remains back to your home country. If eligible, your Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) benefit will be paid out to your beneficiary.
- Travel Assistance Services – If you need a doctor, hospital, or legal referral, translation services, or assistance with lost or stolen travel documents, you will have free access to our multi-lingual customer service department 365 days a year.
Why Choose Atlas America Insurance?
Atlas America insurance is a great option for H-4 visa workers and their family members as they reside temporarily in the United States. Individuals 14 days or older are eligible for coverage, and your entire family can be covered under one policy. Coverage is available up to 364 days.
To help you find the coverage you’re looking for, Atlas America offers several policy levels:
- Atlas Travel: Flexible and budget-friendly, this balanced plan offers high coverage limits for single international trips to the USA. Learn more about Atlas Travel or get a FREE Atlas Travel quote.
- Atlas Premium: This elite plan offers quality coverage with even higher coverage limits for a number of important benefits. Learn more about Atlas Premium or get a FREE Atlas Premium quote.
- Atlas Group: This plan is available to families of 5 or more. It offers the same great coverage as Atlas Travel – at a 10% discount! Learn more about Atlas Group or get a FREE Atlas Group quote.
Additional Highlights of Atlas America H-4 Visa Health Insurance
You and your covered family members will receive 100% coverage for eligible medical expenses inside the Preferred Provider Network (PPO) – after the deductible and up to the overall maximum limit – for injuries and illness incurred inside the U.S.
Atlas America policies are flexible and budget-friendly. They allow you to select the deductible, length of coverage, and coverage maximum that best align with your family’s needs.
You can buy online and receive your policy documents immediately. Plus, your fulfillment document will include instructions on how to seek medical treatment, how to file a claim, and how to contact the customer service department with additional questions.
Wide Provider Network
Our provider network covers all 50 states, with easy access for the majority of the United States.
As an Atlas America policyholder, you will receive access to our full line of travel assistance services, available in multiple languages 365 days a year. These services include:
- Lost passport and travel documents assistance
- Assistance with emergency cash transfers
- Embassy and consulate referrals
- Legal and accounting referrals
- Provider referrals
If your job duration is extended, you can extend your insurance (5-day minimum) up to a maximum of 364 days from your initial coverage start date. Provided there is no break in coverage, you will not be required to re-satisfy your deductible or coinsurance and your benefit limits will not reset.
If you need to cancel your policy, you can submit a written cancellation request to WorldTrips prior to your effective date of coverage for a full refund. If WorldTrips receives the cancellation request after the effective date of coverage, only the unused portion of premium will be refunded and a $25 cancellation fee will apply. No refund will be issued for policies that have submitted claims.
And, should one policyholder need to return home early, you will have the option to cancel his or her policy while the other individuals’ policies remain active (unless there are claims on file for the policyholder who wishes to cancel). Be sure to review the cancellation policy so you know whether you’ll be eligible for a refund and whether fees will apply.
WorldTrips international travel medical insurance products are underwritten by Lloyd's. WorldTrips is a service company and a member of the Tokio Marine HCC group of companies. WorldTrips has authority to enter into contracts of insurance on behalf of the Lloyd's underwriting members of Lloyd's Syndicate 4141, which is managed by HCC Underwriting Agency, Ltd.