Filing H-4, E-3D, & TD Extensions

In the complex world of U.S. immigration, staying compliant with visa regulations is paramount for non-citizens working in the country. This is especially true for individuals holding H-1B, E-3, or TN visas and their dependents on H-4, E-3D, or TD visas, respectively. Understanding these visa categories and the importance of maintaining valid dependent status is crucial for avoiding legal pitfalls that could affect one’s stay in the U.S. This blog post will demystify these visa categories, outline who is eligible for dependent status, and explain why filing for dependent applications is essential with every employer change of the primary visa holder.

Understanding the Visa Types

H-1B Visas: The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa allowing U.S. employers to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations. These roles require theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields.

E-3 Visas: Exclusive to nationals of Australia, the E-3 visa permits the employment of professionals in specialty occupations in the U.S.

TN Visas: Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the TN visa allows Canadian and Mexican citizens to work in the U.S. in prearranged business activities for U.S. or foreign employers.

Dependent Visas – H-4, E-3D, and TD: Dependents of H-1B, E-3, and TN visa holders can apply for H-4, E-3D, and TD visas, respectively. These visas allow spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 to live in the U.S. with the primary visa holder.

The Importance of Filing for Dependent Applications

While H-4, E-3D, and TD visa holders may maintain their status as long as their corresponding primary visa holder maintains theirs, changes in the primary applicant’s employment can create complexities. When a primary visa holder changes employers, it’s not just their status that needs gets updated but also period of stay they are allowed to stay in the US for.

Failure to file for dependent applications during such changes can lead to different expiration dates for the primary applicant and their dependents. This discrepancy might seem minor but can have significant consequences. An oversight in expiration dates can inadvertently place a family member out of status, leading to issues ranging from loss of eligibility for benefits associated with their visa status to the necessity of departing the U.S.

Case Scenarios and Solutions

Scenario: An H-1B visa holder changes employers and timely files their new petition and gets a new I-94 with a validity of 09/30/2025 but overlooks filing for their H-4 dependent who has an I-94 validity until 01/20/2025. The oversight is noticed on 06/01/2025 dependent’s authorized period of stay has already expired.

Solution: Timely filing for both the primary applicant’s new petition and the dependent’s visa application can prevent such scenarios.

Scenario 2: An E-3 visa holder correctly files a new petition after changing employers, but their E-3D dependent’s status is overlooked. The dependent continues to reside in the U.S., unaware of their impending status expiration.

Solution: Regular status checks and understanding the immigration timeline are crucial for maintaining lawful status. Using USCIS’s online tools and consulting with immigration experts can help in monitoring visa expiration dates and ensuring compliance.

Scenario 3: A TN visa holder and their TD dependent have different I-94 expiration dates due to an oversight in filing for the dependent’s status update following the primary applicant’s employer change.

Solution: Proactive planning and simultaneous filing for status updates can mitigate such risks. Families should consider setting reminders for important immigration dates and consult with professionals to streamline their immigration processes.

Preventive Measures and Best Practices

Timely Application: File for dependent extension applications simultaneously with the primary applicant’s petition to avoid misaligned expiration dates.

Professional Assistance: Engaging with an immigration attorney can provide guidance through the complexities of U.S. immigration law, ensuring that all family members maintain valid status.

Regular Status Checks: Utilize USCIS online tools for status checks and set reminders for critical dates related to visa expirations and filings.

Set Up Reminder: Consider setting up reminders for the expiration date so you can file extension on time.


Navigating U.S. immigration requires diligence, especially for families where both primary applicants and their dependents must maintain valid status. The importance of filing dependent applications with every change in the primary applicant’s employment cannot be overstated. By understanding your visa requirements, engaging in timely filing, and seeking professional advice, you can ensure that your family remains compliant with U.S. immigration laws, avoiding unnecessary complications.