I am Indian citizen and have 5 years of intensive work experience as QA Engineer. I am currently in USA on H4 visa (dependent visa).
Can I work and earn by working as a freelancer on upwork from US?
Make google your best friend. It is my understanding that no dependent visal holders can work in US unless they have EAD. In some cases H4's are granted EAD based on some criteria.
Please check with a legal or immigration adviser to ensure that the visa or work permit that you have will allow you to legally work while in the US. Also note that currently we are unable to accept a visa for location verification which is required for working on US-Only jobs on Upwork. With regard to location verification, only a US passport, state ID or green card would be accepted.
But, will upwork allow me to apply for outside-US jobs on its portal and work for them being in US. Payments can be, therefore, made to my India account.
I am just exploring possible options and I may be wrong. Please provide your feedback as per upwork policies.
If you have verified that your visa allows you to work in the US, then you will be able to use Upwork to apply to non US-only jobs. Note however, that only payment options available in the location associated with your profile will show up on your account as available options for disbursements.
I know this won't help with income, but it may be possible to keep your skills updated if you volunteer with a local non-profit organization or NGO. Check with immigration, but I would think that as long as you're not getting paid, you could help out locally until your work visa is approved. But don't quote me on that, it's just a suggestion.