I'm looking for an H-1B Visa and it is mentioned that immediate family members (spouse and children under 21 years of age) can get a H-4 Visa.

I've been living with my girlfriend for 3 years but we don't want to get married yet, do you think she can still get this H-4 Visa ? Is the French PACS considered as married ?

If not, do you have any ideas on how to deal with this ?

2 Answers 2


I actually wasn't able to find the information direcly from USCIS but University of Washington gives a clarification on the subject:

Domestic partners are not eligible for H-4 status but may apply for B-2 visas.

In addition there is an FAQ from the State department referred to by Law and Border FAQ that states

Q: I am in a civil union or domestic partnership; will this be treated the same as a marriage?

A: At this time, only a relationship legally considered to be a marriage in the jurisdiction where it took place establishes eligibility as a spouse for immigration purposes.

So you can look at @littleadv answer about the B2 Visa.

  • I believe this to be true. I have a friend who got married for this reason. Aug 5, 2014 at 23:59
  • Thank you, great answer. Thanks @JeremyMiles for this anecdote, I may need to do the same.
    – Apolo
    Aug 6, 2014 at 14:14

No, she can't. "Spouse" means married "second half". She may be able to get a cohabitating partner variation of B2 tourist visa (that will allow her staying up to a year at a time in the US when she comes with you).

  • Thanks you for this answer. Do you know if B2 is renewable/extensible ? because my stay could be longer than a year.
    – Apolo
    Aug 6, 2014 at 14:11
  • @Apolo I believe she'll have to leave and come back for that, but I'm not sure. I know of couples (gay couples mostly) that used this option and it works.
    – littleadv
    Aug 7, 2014 at 7:17

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