Wednesday, September 18, 2013 H4 visa, a curse – by Rashi Bhatnagar

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She has been residing in the US legally for the last four years on H4 visa. She has a support group on Facebook ‘H4 visa, a curse’ which has members from all over the US and who come from countries all around the globe.

Come October every year, many companies open their gates for newly hired H1B workers, but no attention is given to their families in the US especially the spouses. Read more at - http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/immigration/2013/09/h4-visa-a-curse-by-rashi-bhatnagar-.html#

The counter arguement.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8eiydPTzJY&feature=related

Here is a short video where Americans have presented their side of the story. We (h4rians) are told that “we made a choice about coming here” , yes we did !  but the fact remains –  h4 visa policy is abusive and discriminatory.

The “two for one” theory is does not work, as these h1-b wives are not uneducated …infact most of them are certified professionals. No other developed country has such an abusive policy.  If we dont have skills then, we will not get jobs…and lastly, We are willing to ‘wait our turn’ but  we are not allowed in the queue. 

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BACK   WITH   A

 

 

 

it is so heartwarming to see you guys writing in even though I wasn’t around. I wish I didn’t have to ‘approve’ your comments , makes me feel like sole proprietor of this blog …only if there wasn’t so much spam !  I hope everyone has been well.

see you around !

Happiness simplified …

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http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/spirituality/speaking-tree/Happiness-doesnt-happen-to-us-it-happens-by-us/articleshow/4851172.cms

MARGUERITE THEOPHIL

When we look at people around us who have had relatively smooth and trouble-free lives, we find that some are happy, others unhappy. When we look

at those who have had really rough and challenging lives, again, some are happy, others are not.
All this seems to suggest the relevance of an age-old truth: happiness has less to do with circumstances than with our attitude and approach to life.

Happiness does not happen to us, it happens by us. Know that each of us is the creator of our own thoughts and state of mind. This does not mean ignoring the often, painful reality of what happens, but understanding that you can choose your response to something at any given moment.

For example, you can choose to be frazzled and furious with the demands and pressures of a hectic day, feeling miserable about bad luck, colleagues, weather or bad whatever. Or you can call upon the grace of the moment – reminding yourself to stop and breathe calmly for just a few moments, finding some beauty to focus on, something to be grateful for in all this. You can choose between forever brooding on an unhappy childhood, or focusing on healing and moving on.

Happiness is called upon and cultivated, involving unlearning as much as learning. Consider that for a lot of people, unhappiness can be a ‘patterned response’; where we choose a familiar emotional place even if it mostly hurts and brings sorrow. It’s a bit like Shadow, my friend’s rescued puppy; a bruised, starving, sick little creature, he was given a loving caring home and owners. But after all this time, he still twitches, jumps, and scuttles away at the slightest sound or sudden movement. Shadow doesn’t run and hide so much because he has something to be terrified of today but simply because that’s what he has always done.

Experiences from early life can create habits and patterns that become deeply ingrained, influencing our moods and choices. But, unlike that miserable little dog, we do have the capacity to replace acquired fear or sadness with learned happiness. We can realise that blaming the past or others for our misery, even if partially true, can only give us excuses; it cannot give us the happiness we crave inside.

In fact, it usually serves to increase our suffering! It is established that cultivating feelings of happiness results in a self-generating cycle of biological as much as psychological wellbeing. When you carve out time to go for a walk, or just to the nearest window, or to stop and pray, or dance or sing along to a favourite tune, or share moments with special people, ‘happy hormones’ flood your system, keeping you healthy. For this, you need to first accept that happiness is something that is generated from within, and it comes with time and practice.

Happiness, at its core, is about discovering meaning, and counting your blessings, not your woes. Happiness grows in nurturing relationships.

All kinds of intentional relational activities – practices in which people actively choose to reach out and engage with and serve others – can offer a promising route to lasting happiness.

Happiness then is simply about saying a heartfelt “yes” to all of life; to more positive emotions, to more engagement, to more meaning and purpose, to more caring relationships.

The writer is a Mumbai-based personal growth coach and workshop leader

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My apologies !!! Seems like I have had a severe case of what they call a ‘ blogger burnout’ !

Thanks to all the readers and fellow h4 holders n’ their spouses for keeping this blog active !

I apologise for the delay in replying to comments … will try to answer the questions and respond to the remarks, as soon as possible. Also, hope to post some new articles in July.

Take care.

…a year old !

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This blog was born a warm fall afternoon like this one. It has completed a year – thanks for all your love and support. It has become wiser and has found many new friends. Thanks to each one of them.

H4 write ups

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Amrita Bakshi has some very insightful and interesting write ups on life on h4 visa holders….click on the link below to read what she has to say and suggest.  (Thanks ms. bakshi, your funny yet inspiring blog helped me get through yet another dull day…)

http://bloggermoms.com/?cx=partner-pub-0068492113930286%3A3un8srwg023&cof=FORID%3A10&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=h4&sa=Search#1127

 

H4 to F1 …convert or not to convert ?

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There are three sorts of student visas – . F-1, M, and J-1.

 1.     After a college or university has approved your application for a full time course/ program, they will send you a document called an I-20 form, which is the application form for  F-1 visa. 2.     The M visa is for students at technical schools. 3.     Exchange Visitor J-1: J-1 is for a short term consultation, training, research or teaching program. The organization sponsoring you will send an IAP-66 form, which is the application for J-1 visa.  

Is it necessary to switch H4 to F1 in order to study here?

 

·         No, it is not  obligatory to change your visa in order to study in US. You can legally study here on any visa status, as long as, you fulfill the conditions to get the admission.

 

·         a dependent visa holder cannot obtain any financial aid, and the one-year optional practical training, after completion of the course. You will be able to work on campus for some stipulated number hours on F1 visa.

 ·         On the other hand, if you study on H4/L2 status, then you will get the resident low fee benefit. Normally you automatically become the state resident, after completing 1 year of stay ( every college has a different set of rules regarding in-state fee classification – based on state residency. Being refused by one college does not necessarily mean that all colleges in the state will treat you as an out-of-state or international student. So, make sure you call them…also, check their website) But, if you plan to convert your visa status to F1, then you won’t get this benefit. You will be treated as a foreign student and thus will be charged heavy fee.

Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) simplified

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What is ITIN?

Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is a tax processing number issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). It is a nine-digit number, similar in format to the SSN. It always begins with the number 9. ITINs are issued only to people who do not have, and are not eligible to obtain a Social Security Number (SSN) from the Social Security Administration (SSA). ITIN is for tax purposes only. It does not authorize work and cannot be used as an identification number or for any purpose outside the tax system.

Who needs ITIN?

If you must file a U.S. tax return or you are listed on a tax return as a spouse or a dependent and you are not eligible to obtain a valid SSN, you must apply for an ITIN.

Generally, all dependent (H-4 or L-2) visa holders can apply for an ITIN.

  • Non-resident alien filing a U.S. tax return and not eligible for an SSN

  • U.S. resident alien (based on days present in the United States) filing a U.S. tax return and not eligible for an SSN

  • Dependent or spouse of a U.S. citizen/resident alien

  • Dependent or spouse of a non-resident alien visa holder

Both SSN and ITIN ?

By law, a person cannot have both an SSN and an ITIN. When completing tax return forms, you should enter the ITIN in the space for SSN. Including your ITIN on the tax return will ensure prompt processing and receipt of refund. You may need to use your ITIN number when opening a bank account.

Are ITINs valid for identification?

No. ITINs are not valid identification outside the tax system. Since ITINs are strictly for tax processing, IRS does not apply the same standards as agencies that provide genuine identity certification.
ITIN applicants are not required to apply in person, and IRS does not further validate the authenticity of identity documents. ITINs do not prove identity outside the tax system, and should not be offered or accepted as identification for non-tax purposes.

Are ITINs valid for work purposes?

No. ITINs are for federal income tax purposes only.

When to apply?

You should apply for your ITIN as soon as you are ready to file your federal income tax return, since you need to attach the return to your application. It is possible to apply for an ITIN any time during the year.

How to apply ?

The application process for ITIN has recently been revised. You now need to provide the following documents to apply for an ITIN:

  • W-7 Form

  • Attach a valid Federal Income Tax Return (unless you qualify for an exception – see page 3 of Form W-7)

  • Original or certified proof of identity. The IRS has revised it’s list of documents acceptable as proof of identity and foreign status. An original and valid passport is the only document acceptable as proof of both identity and foreign status. If you submit an original valid passport (or a notarized or certified copy of a valid passport), you do not need to submit any other documents from the list below

If you do not provide your passport, you must submit a combination of (at least 2 or more) current and valid documents from the list below. These documents (or their combination) should verify
a) Your identity, i.e., contain your name & photograph
b) Support your claim of foreign status

  • National identification card (must show photo, name, current address, date of birth and expiration date)

  • U.S. driver’s license

  • Civil birth certificate

  • Foreign driver’s license

  • US state identification card

  • Foreign voter’s registration card

  • US military identification card

  • Foreign military identification card

  • Visa

  • US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) photo identification

  • Medical records (dependents only)

  • School records (dependents and/or students only)

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You can submit copies of original documents. Copies are not returned. These copies must either be – Certified by the issuing agency or official custodian of the original record OR Notarized by a US notary public

If you submit your original documents they will be returned. You need not provide a return envelope for this purpose. If your originals are not returned within 60 days call the IRS at the telephone assistance number. Keep a copy of your application for your records. To be on the safe side, mail your application by insured mail so that you receive a receipt. Avoid using originals if the copy can work.

Use the January 2007 revision of Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number to apply. Attach a valid federal income tax return unless you qualify for an exception, and include your original or certified proof of identity documents.
Because you are filing your tax return as an attachment to your ITIN application, you should not mail your return to the address listed in the Form 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ instructions. Instead, send your return, Form W-7 and proof of identity documents to:

Internal Revenue Service
Austin Service Center
ITIN Operation
P.O. Box 149342
Austin, TX 78714-9342

You may also apply using the services of an IRS-authorized Acceptance Agent or visit an IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center in lieu of mailing your information to the IRS in Austin. TACs in the United States provide in-person help with ITIN applications on a walk-in or appointment basis. Applicants outside the United States should contact an overseas IRS office to find out if that office accepts Form W-7 applications. The IRS’s ITIN Unit in Austin issues all numbers by mail.

What are the ways to apply for an ITIN?

There are three ways to apply for ITIN:

  1. Personally: You can apply for ITIN in person. Carry completed forms and valid documents to any IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center in the US

  2. By Mail: Mail Form W-7, your tax return (or other documents required by an exception), and the identification documentation to
    Internal Revenue Service
    Philadelphia Service Center
    ITIN Unit, PO Box 447
    Bensalem, PA 19020

  3. Through an Acceptance Agent:  An Acceptance Agent is an individual, business or organization (college, financial institution, accounting firm, etc.) authorized by IRS to assist individuals in obtaining ITINs. Certifying Acceptance Agents review applicants’ documentation, complete a certificate of accuracy, and forward the certificate and application to the IRS for processing. Some Acceptance Agents may charge a fee.

How and when will you receive your ITIN?

If you qualify for the ITIN and your application is complete, you will receive a letter from the IRS assigning your tax identification number, usually within 4 to 6 weeks. If you have not received any letter from the IRS in that time, you may call the IRS to check the status of your application at the IRS telephone assistance number: 1-800-829-1040.

Studying on H4 visa ?

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gettin back to books 

A person with an H4 may seek a post secondary education by converting their status to an “F1″ (full-time student) visa. Full-time means a minimum of twelve credits per semester in an institution recognized by the INS. Conversion to a different visa is not necessary is to attend a community colleges. These colleges only give you what is the equivalent of a Diploma, instead of a Degree, but they often the serve the purpose of giving you career oriented education.Since H4 visa holders are not allowed to earn money even on campus by taking up a job. If you want to be on scholarship, your status will change and you will be on F-1 visa as mentioned above.   Children on H4 visas do not need a separate visa to attend school.

You should know that studying in USA is a costly affair, so plan accordingly community colleges are economical when compared to the rest. If you are pursing online or distant education, look out for in-state universities as fee for residents is much less than people residing outside the state. At times, staying on h4 helps as, you can pay the instate fee ( not in Michigan, but some states like Texas categorise H4 visa holders as state residents), if you convert to F1 then you will have to pay more. 

To get assistantship or to take advantage of optional practical training, you have to change your status from H4 to F1 by filing change of status application with INS. It may take 6-9 months for approval. You can start attending school while your application is pending. But you can get assistantship only after F1 approval. When you travel abroad next time, you have to get the F1 VISA stamping. The time you spent on your F1 will NOT be counted against your 6 year clock (Eg: you can be in US for 8 years (3 years H4 + 2 years F1 + 3 years H1B)

Scholarships: there is some confusion if scholarships based on merit / grades are considered income for IT purposes, Talk to your spouse’s employer’s immigration attorney.

 

social security number and driving license for h4

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Social security numbers are not being issued to H4, L2 visa holders. They can’t get SSN just for banking, driving, etc. Some states require that the person must have the social security in order to get the driver’s license. Social Security Administration(SSA) has given a final rule saying that SSN can’t be issued for getting driver’s license. SSN should be used only for tracking person’s earning over life time and driver’s license has nothing to do with SSN. If you are staying such state, you just can’t get driver’s license.

Very few states like Iowa may still provide social security numbers but you cannot use it for work purposes, kindly check with authorities.

Addition Information from Sands (thanks!) : You can write to SSA requesting for a denial letter and present it at DMV!

H4 and Driving license…your first step towards freedom !

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Every state in US, has it’s own rules and regulations for motor vehicles. Though mostly all basic rules are same, but do verify them by calling or visiting a local DMV office. How to get a driving license?

There are two steps for it.

  1. Written test.

  2. Road Test.

Written test is about traffic laws and signs. There are 36 questions on the test paper. A passing score is at least 31 correct answers. You have three chances to pass . If you failed 3rd time also, then you will have to pay the fee again and you will again get 3 more chances.

Go to the nearest DMV office, or visit DMV site for a booklet on traffic laws and signs (drivers handbook). Study it for the written test.

What is the procedure?

  • Visit a DMV office (make a prior appointment for a faster service).

  • Submit the completed application form, along with the fee.

  • any three of the following -

  1. proof of your date of birth.

  2. original passport.

  3. marriage certificate

  4. visa stamped on your passport

  5. any other id proof

If you have and international license from your country (India), it isn’t much of help. But if you have an Inidna driver’s license, you dont need to take a written test, you may take the road test rightaway.

Nowadays the Government has stopped giving SSN to the people on dependent visa. But they do give an official denial letter, specifying as to why they can’t issue you an SSN card. You can show this denial letter in order to get your driving license. It is accepted at the DMV.

  • Now you can appear for the written test.

Once you pass the written test, you have to give a eye test there itself. If you wear glasses/ contacts, please put them on for the test.  You will then be issued a temporary permit. If you have never been licensed before, you may use this permit to practice driving with an accompanying adult, who is 25 years of age or older, with a valid state license. It is illegal for you to drive alone.

Now you might take classes from some Instructor. Once you are comfortable in driving, you can fix up an appointment over the phone, for the road test.

Road test:

It’s a driving test, where a instructor will test your driving skills. Major criteria is to inspect, how carefully and safely you drive. It normally takes 10-15 min. It is a 100 points test, and minimum 70 is passing. You can get 3 attempts in case you are unable to pass. If you failed 3rd time also, then you have to reappear for the written test.
Upon passing the driving test, an interim license will be issued, which is valid for 60 days. In the mean time you will receive your original photo license via mail.

 Tips

  • Read the drivers handbook carefully for rules and signs, for the written test.

  • Refer few old question papers, to get an idea of the test.

  • Once you passed the written test, take an appointment for your road test.

  • Take some driving classes from a good instructor, who can teach you the rules and precautions.

  • Here the instructor charges on hourly basis ( anything from $35 to $50), hence they try to prolong the class as much as possible. Don’t hesitate to ask, if you have any query for any signal rules, sign board, or anything else.

  • Ask few friends about the best instructor, before selecting one. Don’t just take the recommendation of your HR person for the instructor.

  • Instructor will provide his car for the road test which will have dual controls.

  • Getting a preferred appointment with DMV is difficult. You may go to any of the DMV offices, where ever you can get an appointment.

  • During your road test, don’t get nervous, or extra conscious. Most important is to follow the signs, speed limits, listen to the instructions, and drive safely. If you can’t understand any instruction, don’t hesitate to ask again. Don’t be in a hurry.

  • If you don’t get the license for a very long time, contact the DMV office.

  • Never ever drive without your driving license.

 

Note: Indian International Drivers Permit (IDP) works only in certain states. Please make sure it works for the state you are driving in.

lets talk about H4

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The plight of the h4 visa holder is not much talked about neither in the media, politics nor the legal circles.  It doesn’t make for a very good story unless there is a domestic violence issue involved, nor does it make for a good case if there isn’t sufficient amount of torture and as for politics, the h4 clan is not a pressure group not doesn’t  have any lobbyists’.  Far from being a pressure group, it mainly consists of women from India, seeking permission to work and at times, a driver’s license.

 

They have not been given a platform to voice their opinion on the matter. Infact, it is made sure that they are incapacitated enough so that they cannot make one themselves. They are financially dependent and have no social security.  The internet and blogs are the only way to voice out their concerns.

When even the illegal settlers get to work and it is being legalized… why not these are law abiding, peaceful  professionals.  No one is going to fight for us. We have to learn to fight our own battles…and Win them !

Letter seeking Instate fee Classification

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I am posting a sample letter seeking in state fee classification. please add more points if you can think of some…as always, comments and corrections are welcome.

Dear _____ ,

I would like to pursue a _____ degree (masters/bachelors/ ....) in ________ (name of the program) from _______(university name). I have submitted all the required transcripts and recommendation letters. I have submitted my TOEFL score  and received an admission letter from the university. ( erase if you haven’t)

I had chat with __________(if you have already talked about it with someone in the univ.) regarding the fee classification for H4 visa holders and I was told that I might be eligible for in-state tuition fee.

I have bachelors’ degree in _____ and a masters’ degree in _______ from the ____________. Currently, I am in USA on H4 visa; a dependent visa which is coupled with H1-B visa. This visa does not allow me to seek employment or have a social security number but it permits me to study in American universities and colleges. I wish to pursue a __________ course from an American university. It would enhance my knowledge and also, improve my job prospects.

I would like to request for an in-state tuition classification based on the fact that I am a legal resident in the state of __________ and have resided in ______ (name of the state) for more than ____ months/ years. I have been living here with my husband / wife who is a permanent and full time employed professional. I have waited for _____ years/ months to start my academic pursuit so as to fulfill the state residency condition.

In addition to the above, I have a _____ bank account, ______ (name of the state )Driver’s license and ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number).  I have also applied for Green card (United States permanent resident card) which is in its final stages.  My husband/ wife and I file taxes jointly.

The tuition fee categorization is a very important issue which will decide whether or not I will be able to take up the course. I hope you will consider my request and look into my case.

Thank you for your time,

Best Regards,

___________

DRIVER’S LICENSE, BANK ACCOUNT, CREDIT CARD, AND OTHER OPTIONS FOR H4

DRIVER’S LICENSE, BANK ACCOUNT, CREDIT CARD, AND OTHER OPTIONS FOR H4

- Contributed by Choy. (thanks for the write up !)

Hi to all,

I’ve been in the US for a year now and like everyone else, it has been a long and tiring struggle eversince. It’s really a frustrating situation to be on H4, it’s like having both your hands and feet tied up because you are actually limited to only a few options and opportunities here.

Just would like to share some of my experiences for the past year:

1. DRIVER’S LICENSE/STATE ID

For H4, this is one of the most important things you have to consider getting first as this will establish your identity here.

Start this process by acquiring a LETTER OF DENIAL from Social Security Office Nearest you. Documents needed I guess varies from state to state but what they ask of me are Passport, Visa, I-94. Additionally, they also asked supporting documents coming from the primary visa holder (whom you are dependent with)….these documents include your spouse’s passport, visa, i-94, SSN and form I-797. As I have said documents needed might vary from state to state so call the SS Office first before going.

When you have the Letter of Denial you can now go to DMV to apply for either Driver’s License or State ID. These are the docs DMV asked of me:
1. Proof of Residence-this maybe any utility bill on your name, or if you are renting an apartment ask your land lord to add your name on the lease contract (this is what we did and i guess the easiest option).

2. Letter of Denial
3. Passport, Visa, I-94
4. Supporting Docs from primary visa holder: Passport, Visa, I-94, I-797, and SSN

5. Study or atleast brush trough the “Rules of the Road Booklet” (This is available at DMV office or the DMV webiste of your state), as you might take the written exam on the same day of your application (Don’t worry ! Most of these questions are purely common sense).

After sumbitting all of these documents at the DMV nearest you, the rest will just be procedural. Again documents to be presented might differ from state to state make sure to call DMV first.

2. OPENING A BANK ACCOUNT

-the best option is to apply for a joint checking account together with your spouse. Now from here on, if you decide to open a separate account for yourself and on the same bank, it will not post any problem anymore since you are already an account holder. Documents asked to open an account usually are 2 Valid IDs. Passport and Driver’s License or State ID will suffice.

3. STARTING YOUR OWN CREDIT HISTORY

Contrary to what others are saying and as per my experience it is possible to have your OWN CREDIT CARD and CREDIT HISTORY (Not a secure Card) even though you are on H4 status. At first I was also led into believing that this is not possible because I can’t establish a Credit History because I don’t have an SSN. Here is how I started:

1. Apply for Individual Tax Idendtification Number with the IRS. This is very easy just download the W-7 form from IRS website and follow the instruction given on the form. After mailing it to IRS you’ll have to wait like 3-6 weeks for them to process this and send your ITIN.

2. As soon as possible, ask your spouse to add you as an authorize user of his or her credit card. I think this is what made the difference, upon arriving to the US, my wife and I decided to include me as an authorize user of her credit card. As much as possible use your card in your purchases specially on big or frequent purchases. I believe (this is only my own speculation), in doing this you make your name known to the credit agencies. Very Important…..never miss a payment on your credit card, keep it on good standing.

After like 4-6 months, I started recieving pre-approve credit card application from different banks. I was skeptical at first in applying, thinking that it will not be approve precisely because I don’t have an SSN which is required when you apply. I did the application anyway using my ITIN in place of an SSN. And it worked, I was approved. Three months after I recieve my card, i was eligible for a credit line increase. Bottomline is, you must keep your credit record on good standing from the very beginning of the process.

Of course, I can not guarantee that you will have the same outcome as mine. Different factors might affect your application such as current credit standing of your spouse and the bank where you applied for a credit card. I’m just saying this to rectify the information given by others that you can’t have a credit card or credit history while on H4.

4. OTHER LEGAL OPTION TO EARN FINANCIALLY WHILE ON H4

-It has already been established that there is no way an H4 can work. Coming from me who have tirelessly sought different avenues to circumbent this situation for the past year and for most i guess share this feeling, unless of course you do things illegally which I believe will do more harm than good for you specially now a days that immigration is being strick on their policy on illegal allien (Of course we are not illegal alliens here but when you start working as H4, then it is). However, there is one avenue you can look into. And that is INVESTING in stocks and forex, we are allowed to do this. I did some investing already in the past couple of months, drive by boredom I guess …. LOL. But of course, this is a very risky option specially now a days when the market is very unstable, however, on the upside, stocks right now are quite cheap to buy. I warn you though that investing in the market carries with it a great amount of risk….so before you dive into it….make sure, to make your own research on the risks involve. There are a tons of books you can read to atleast give you insight on this option. Again, investing carries with it some amount of risk make sure you do your homework even before contemplating on this option.

5. GET AN EDUCATION

-If there is one option which will be beneficial to us on H4 here in the US is to continue our studies. At least, you are investing on something you can use in the future. At least it will make the wait worthwhile.

I would like to thank the moderator/Administrator of this site. You are really doing a good job in keeping this site going. I really applaud you for your efforts. Keep up the good work.

another interesting blog

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Came across this blog http://mysteeque.blogspot.com/-  it is interesting. The writer is in CA. It has a very nicely written piece on ‘H4 bahus’…elaborates on h4 could mean different things to different people, it is on how you handle it…definately worth a read ! (though, I would skip the ‘earn money sitting at home’ part.)

http://mysteeque.blogspot.com/

Thanks to the unknown blogger !

Drivers License across various states -

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Help your fellow h4 visa hodlers by letting us know if you managed to get a drivers license in your state. Lets find out which states allow h4s to obtain a license {without or without ‘denial of social security’ letter from social security administration}. send the information across as a comment and I will add it to this post. But please, NO second hand information ! Thanks, in advance, to all the contributors.

Michigan – allows H4 visa holders to obtain a Driver’s License. No letter from required from SSA.

California – allows H4s to obtain a license. Sonal is in CA and shared the following information with us.

sonal: I came to CA last year, April 2007. I went to nearby SSN office and got a letter that stats I do not authorized SSN. With this letter and my passport, I went to DMV office. From there I got California ID and California Driver handbook. To get California ID I had to pay $22. And the Califrornia Driver Handbook is free. Read that book and gave the writing test.
http://www.dmv.org/ca-california/practice-tests.php Follow this link to practice the written test, and the site will give more authentic details to get the driver’s licencse.
After passing that writing test, we are ready to take “behind-the-wheel” trainning. 

DENVER - h4s can get a drivers license.

Shweta: I am at Denver and for me, it was easy. I got it. You just need to have a letter from SSA office that you are not eligible to have SSN due to dependent status.

 

NEW JERSEY - h4s can get a drivers license.

Sagar: If you have Indian 4-wheel driving license, you do not need to give a driving test in New Jersey.
You only have to pass through the online test which you have to give at nearby DMV office.
My wife is on H4 and we are living in Edison, NJ. My wife had a problem while getting DL as though she had Indian DL, she had to appear for the driving test. The DMV officials gave the reason that the Indian DL issued by Andhra Pradesh state, does not had the hologram sticker on it. I (H1 visa) had a DL from Gujarat , which had a hologram sticker on it. Hence, I appeared only in online test to get a DL. Hologram matters…
 

Illinois

Venkat :
Hey,
You might want to put this information about the licence stuff in your front page.
Story from Illinois
1. Requires Denial Letter from SSA
2. You HAVE to go to the DMV facility in Laramie off I-290 or Rockford, IL to get the written test. no other facility entertains H4.
3. Although, they serve written tests on saturday, they do not entertain denial of SSN letters on saturdays. Written test close at 4.30
4. Fortunately, the written test is the same for everyone. Simple, and common sense answerable by everyone
5. Learn to drive and go back to the same place, either Laramie or Rockford, IL and give the driving test.

Hearts suspended ……..

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Unauthorized to work in the US since 2002, Meghna Damani’s struggles inspired her first film. Hearts Suspended traces the filmmaker’s personal journey as she reveals how educated South Asian immigrant women struggle with depression, loss of self-identity, strained marital relations and other issues in the US on H4 (dependent spouse) visas, which deny them work-authorization. 

The Brownbag mag met with Meghna to get to the heart of the issue.

click the lin below to read the interview

http://brownscapeprod.com/articles/artistlookout1007.html

Current account for h4 visa holders – By simi (contributor)


TO all h4s,

You DO NOT need to have a driving license to open an account rather you can open an account and have the welcome letter as one of the 6 points to get a drivers license.

1) Tell your spouse to give you an extended credit card may be by depositing $300(it will be on your name from your spouse’s account).

2) Take your insurance card or any paper verifying that you have medical insurance. (All H1 people get it for their spouses as well).

3) take your passport with a valid visa.

4) some banks asks for a utility bill. You can ask your hubby to add or change to your name any of the gas or electricity (they dont ask for social)

5) Not important——-you can take your ITIN papers as well if you have.

You are good to open a checking account on your name. People on H4 cannot open savings account since they are not entitled to earn any interest from the sum.

good luck,
Simmi

musical_simsam@yahoomail.com

funny? ..maybe NOT !

Spotted this at www.hindu.com. let me know what you think of it. 

The H4 Wives Club

SADAF SIDDIQUE

Original article at ( http://www.hindu.com/mag/2008/07/06/stories/2008070650160400.htm)

 

F, L, H, J… No, I haven’t forgotten the alphabet. These are merely the different letters that govern the lives and times of most desis in the U.S. That’s the coveted Green-Card-less desis. If you ar e a student, you have to contend with the J and F visas, while professionals battle it out in the H and L arenas. And since fixing marriages is a national sport (read obsession), the most familiar category up for discussion and debate on desi wives is the H4 visa status.

First, a little lesson in U.S. immigration. While the H4 visa allows spouses legal residence in the country, it does not permit them to work. So that’s pretty much a sure-fire route to turning the blushing bride into the bored and restless. Sure, you could study further but if you have already slogged through a Masters degree of your parent’s choosing, or worked in India, chances are that you are thinking, What! Not Again!

So while these MA (hons) BA (hons) three years work experience at the Times of India/O&M/P&G wives are cooling their heels at home, the novelty of marriage and living in a new place invariably rubs off and things become increasingly mundane. Add a mind-numbing routine of cooking and cleaning to the recipe and you are ready for an excruciating taste of ennui. So what are these bored wives to do?

The boredom manifests itself in interesting ways. Let’s go through a little sampling shall we? There are: the desi-party-throwing wives, the shop-till-I-drop wives, the my-husband-got-me-a-job-where-he-works wives and finally the I-am-no-longer-in-the-H4-wives-club –and-let-me-take-up-any-pause-in-conversation-to-reiterate-that wives.

Enthusiastic bunch

 

The desi-party-throwing wives are usually the most enthusiastic. You would have to be, to invite over 40 people to your home, entertain and feed them and then clean up afterwards. They are also a storehouse of information. I mean, how many people do you know who can tell you when Dussehra, Diwali, Chaat puja fall and when to perform Shri Maha Lakshmi Homam? They know all the best catering deals in town. They’ll throw a party as frequently as the falling dollar makes the news.

They’ll invite all their friends, acquaintances and their acquaintance’s acquaintances. Everyone at the party will be desi. The women will dress in their most garish shaadi-ka-jodha, complete with maang-tikka, while the men will wear their jazziest kurta or Hawaiian shirt. (which is fast becoming some kind of desi style statement, right up there with the white shoes) These wives compete with each other to host over-the-top Karvachauth or Diwali parties or ones where unsuspecting hosts are subject to torturous party games.

Then there are the shop-till-I-drop wives. They have probably hit all the malls in the entire continent. They live, breathe and eat shopping. They drop off their husbands to work and begin their retail therapy for six straight hours. Having scourged all the sale racks (desis are cheap, cheap, cheap remember? http://www.hindu.com/mag/2008/06/08/ stories/2008060850070300.htm) in all the big stores, they form bands of two or four and head out for the outlet malls.

They switch off their mobiles and shop with the single minded dedication and focus of an ant saving its winter hordes. Why they hoard 10 sets of crockery, frosty pink (!) glass horses and more shoes and handbags than they can count is beyond me. But they are always the ones to hit on for information on sales and steals. You might also see them rummaging through someone else’s cast-offs at garage sales.

Good economic sense

 

The my-husband-got-me-a-job-where-he-works wives are probably the epitome of sati-savitris. She’ll hang on to every word that drops from her beloved’s mouth. Even if she has a degree in Political Science and a desire to pursue it further, she follows her husband’s advice and takes up a Computer course at the local community college. That helps hubby dearest place her in the company where he works and where he can bump up a favour with the guy in HR who did the same thing for his wife. No problems of different work and commute timings. It all works out to good economical gains.

She takes every opportunity to tell you how absolutely wonderful her husband is. She will vociferously defend pati-parmeshwar’s taste for Budweiser and Black Sabbath even if all she drinks is the occasional diet coke and her musical taste never went beyond the Titanic sound track.

And finally there are the I-am-no-longer-in-the-H4-wives-club –and-let-me-take-up-any-pause-in-conversation-to-reiterate-that wives. These wives see being in the H4 wives club as comparable to having the bubonic plague (or maybe even the bird flu). They go to great lengths to enrol themselves in some academic programme merely so that they can change their visa status.

Ask them a simple “How are you?” and be prepared for a three-hour-long saga of how the prized J or F visa has been obtained, how they got their status revised and how they gleefully discarded their H4 visa. In reality, of course, changing status is really more hassle than it’s worth and you effectively remain a dependent. They will talk pitifully of other H4 wives and reiterate once again how the prized J or F visa has been obtained, how they got their status revised and how they gleefully discarded their H4 visa.

So some important questions remain. Does boredom lead to regression? Why on earth would someone buy pink (pink I tell you!) frosty glass horses? Does she really listen to his heavy metal music collection? Can you throttle someone in mid sentence? While these musings may not encompass all the H4 wives, it does give you a fair picture of the desi damsel in visa distress.

 

No tax rebates for spouse and children for h1-b visa holders.

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By Ken McLaughlin
Mercury News

Article Launched: 05/08/2008 01:30:36 AM PDT

Link to the original article – http://origin.mercurynews.com/news/ci_9191044

When Congress passed an economic-stimulus package giving hefty rebates to most taxpayers, it tried to make sure that illegal immigrants didn’t get any of the cash.

But in doing so lawmakers inadvertently penalized at least a million legal U.S. residents – and tens of thousands of U.S. troops stationed overseas – simply because their spouses lack a Social Security number.

“Imagine an American soldier in Iraq whose foreign-born wife is waiting for an immigration petition to be approved and doesn’t have a Social Security card. Now the couple can’t even get a rebate,” said Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose. “That is really stupid.”

Others in the predicament include legal residents whose spouses are still overseas because of long immigration queues and hundreds of thousands of H-1B work visa holders in Silicon Valley and elsewhere.

The scope of the problem is only now becoming clear as the government begins sending out rebate checks. The first checks were electronically deposited in bank accounts last week.

Because illegal immigrants don’t have Social Security numbers and instead routinely use tax identification numbers, Congress banned rebates for taxpayers who use the IRS-issued numbers.

If a married couple files jointly and one spouse doesn’t have a Social Security number, the couple won’t get the $1,200 check that other couples will receive. They’re also ineligible for the $300 rebate per child.

“If the government collects taxes from us, we should be able to get rebates given to other legal residents; it should be a level playing field,” said Parveen Kumar, an H-1B visa holder who lives in Sunnyvale.

Kumar moved to Silicon Valley from India with his wife three years ago. He now works as an engineer at Intelliswift Software in Fremont. But his wife, Anu, is on an H-4 “dependency visa” that doesn’t allow her to work.

After he found out about the rebate law, he went to the Mountain View office of the Social Security Administration and asked if he could get a number for his wife. He was told no.

John Johnston, a spokesman for the Social Security Administration, confirmed on Wednesday that the agency’s policy is not to issue Social Security cards simply for the purpose of issuing tax rebates.

Spouses of H-1B workers

According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, there are now between 600,000 and 800,000 H-1B visa holders in the United States. Exactly how many are married to spouses ineligible to work in this country is unclear.

 

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