H-1B/H-4 -Apply for permanent residence?

Dear community,

I am a German citizen currently working and residing in Germany. I work as a freelance translator (English-German) for customers around the globe, including Germany, the UK, the US, France and many more. My business is going very well, and I wouldn't trade my job for any other job in the world.

Two weeks ago, my fiancé and (very) soon-to-be husband received a highly interesting job offer from a US-based company. He would be provided with an H-1B visa, meaning that as his wife, I would be receiving an H-4 dependent visa. This would be such an amazing opportunity and experience for both of us, so he will probably accept their offer this week.

However, from my understanding, under no circumstances would I be allowed to continue working as a freelance translator with this H-4 visa. Of course I could always look for a US employer who would be willing to sponsor an H-1B visa for me and then switch from my H-4 to an H-1B, but as I said: My business is going so, so well and I just love being self-employed and independent, so I'm not exactly wild about that option. At the same time, we do have to take into account that our current lifestyle is dependent on our two incomes.

One solution that I'm currently considering is using my "free" time in the US under the H-4 visa to take additional translation and interpreting classes at a US university for the time being. However, seeing as this probably isn't exactly cheap, I am eager to go back to working as a freelancer as soon as possible after that. Therefore, I was wondering if anyone here had any experience as to how long my husband would have to wait before he could apply for permanent residence in the US, resulting in me receiving an unlimited work permit so I can go back to working as a freelancer? One year? Two years? God forbid, six years?

Up until this morning when I started researching this topic, we were very excited about this new opportunity, but right now I'm just feeling a mix of sadness, anger and helplessness. I am highly qualified, I love working hard for my money, and I want to work in my chosen profession to be able to support my family and the government of the country I live in by paying my taxes - so why shouldn't I be allowed to do so? It makes no sense.

Thank you so much in advance for your help, I really appreciate it!

Kind regards and all the best from Germany,
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Registered Users (C)
<<how long my husband would have to wait before he could apply for permanent residence in the US>>

If his employer is willing to sponsor him the process should take only several months or maybe 1-2 years.

Having said that, if your clients are based outside the US and if you can work with them remotely, there is no need for you to get any work permit in the US. The h4 visa bans you only from taking employment with a US employer but you can always work remotely for a non-US employer. And if your business is solid, you can even operate a business here, and be able to hire American workers. Talk to an attorney about the details.