H4 or F1 which one suites?


Hello - my daughter (18 yrs old) is a Senior in High School in California. She is eventually planning to apply to college and go for college studies.

Do I need to apply F1 Visa for her? Currently I am on H1B with a priority date Feb 2011 and awaiting.

Really appreciate any guidance on this. The moment I change her to F1 she will be treated as an international student as well that goes with higher tuition fee that I might not be able to afford as well. However, when she turns 21 her H4 becomes non-applicable since she will not be a dependent anymore after that age.

Seek some guidance on how to tackle this situation wisely.



Hi Anil,

Universities use a policy of “initial status” when admitting a student. Your daughter will enter higher studies as an H-4 and this record continues. She can try to finish her 4-year program in 3 years but this requires taking more credits per semester, a cost that sometimes needs to be watched and a parent might go over budget. If your daughter is in a trade / vocational school at the time, an M-1 visa can be considered but this is similar to F-1. She can also consider the J-1 visa if she becomes a research intern to a faculty member in the 3rd year. An IAP-66 will replace the need for the F-1 I-20 document. Please also check if an H-4 status can be extended (irrespective of age 21 rule; and you must apply before she turns 21) if the purpose is to continue to stay with the primary H-1B. Lastly, if your green card is in process for yourself and dependents, that becomes final status evidence in many cases. Best wishes