H4 to H1 Question


We applied for H1 visa this year for my wife and it is approved this october. We are yet to apply for SSN for her. Now she is planning to go India for some medical treatment in Feb 2017. We dont want to apply SSN and convert to H4 again before she goes to India. I have following questions. Would appreciate if you can clarify.

  1. Is it OK to not apply for SSN even if you have I797 approval?

  2. Since her H1 is approved, does it mean her status is changed from H4 to H1?

  3. At what time we need to apply for change of status(from H4 to H1)? Is it when you apply for SSN or is it employers responsibility to apply for change of status when they file H1?

  4. When she come back from India, can we apply SSN for her using her I797 approval?


Every H1 doesnt require to apply for SSN by law. But since H1 links to a legal and must employment, such employment must pay salary, paying salary needs taxes to be paid, so, SSN is required.

In your spouse case, since she is not planning to take H1 based employment, SSN part for now is immaterial. So, lets forget about it for now.

You need to file for H4 visa ASAP since she is officially in H1 status starting October 1st. Its not her Employer’s responsibility to get her on to a different visa status, its her responsibility to be in a legal status. Technically she is not in valid H1 status as she is not working on the current H1 status.

On her return, if she is able to start working, have her employer file H1(as she will be on H4 status at that time) OR she can go for H1 stamping in India if she is going to start working on the job upon her arrival back to US.

At that point(of starting work), she can apply for SSN.

thanks for your response.