As a spouse or child of an L-1 visa holder, you may be eligible to apply for an L-2 visa and join your family member in the United States. As an L-2 visa holder, you will be able to stay in the U.S. for as long as your family member’s L-1 visa time is active and you will receive benefits for being an L-2 visa holder. Below, we will discuss what the L-2 visa process is, how to apply, and what you can do after you are given your L-2 visa.
The L-2 visa specifically allows certain dependents of L-1 visa holders to accompany their family members and have access to certain nonimmigrant visa privileges.
The L-1 visa is for intracompany transferees, meaning it allows executives, managers, or employees with specialized knowledge in their company to work in an affiliated office in the United States. The L-1 employee may be accompanied by their spouse or children.
An L-2 visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows the family members to stay in the United States for the same period as the L-1 employee.
In some cases, an L-1 holder’s family may already be in the U.S. If you fall under this classification, then you may want to seek a change of status or an extension of stay with your L-2 visa.
The L-2 visa also allows the spouses of L-1 employees to apply for work authorization—or an L-2 EAD (Employment Authorization Documents).
The dependents of an L-1 employee are eligible to apply for an L-2 visa. Sometimes, this visa is unofficially called the L-2 spouse visa. Dependents include the spouse of the L-1 employee and their unmarried child or children if they are under the age of 21.
Any family member who is not the spouse or the child of the L-1 visa holder is not eligible for the L-2 visa. Ineligible dependents include L-1 employees’ parents, grandparents, extended family, and other relatives. Even though these family members may be the L-1 holder’s dependents, they are not permitted to apply for the L-2 visa.
If you are a family member who is ineligible for the L-2 visa, contact our immigration lawyers. You may be able to visit your family members with a B-2 visa for tourists.
The L-2 visa process can be done at the same time as the L-1 employee submits their application. As a tip, when the L-2 visa process is done at the same time as the L-1 employee applicant, you may have a better chance of proving to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that the relationship you have is legitimate.
In order to complete the L-2 visa process, you must follow these steps:
Filing the DS-160 Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application is the first step in applying for an L-2 visa. After you complete each page, you will land on a final confirmation page. Make sure to print out this confirmation, which includes a barcode page. You will need the DS-160 barcode further down the line during your L-2 visa process. You will also need to pay the DS-160 application fee of $160.
Once you have submitted your DS-160, you will need to schedule two appointments:
You will need to do this yourself as the U.S. Embassy or Consulate will not schedule the appointment for you. Each country has specific instructions, so make sure you follow the steps for your country. Check with your immigration attorney if you have questions regarding your individualized instructions.
Once you plan your appointment, you will be given a date for your visa interview. Your interview will take place at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
The biometrics appointment takes place at the Visa Application Center. During your appointment, you will provide/complete:
Your biometrics appointment needs to be completed before your interview.
Your L-2 visa interview is the most important part of the L-2 visa process. Taking between 15 to 20 minutes, the interview’s purpose is to validate your genuine relationship with the L-1 visa holder. The interview will determine your eligibility and acceptance for the L-2 visa.
During the interview, honesty is the best policy. Be clear and truthful with the immigration officer. The L-2 visa interview questions and answers for wife, husband, and/or children consist of general inquiries as well as personal questions. When your answers match up with your evidence and are consistent in showing your relationship, you should be granted your visa.
You will know immediately if your visa is approved. In about 10 business days, you will receive your passport back which will contain your valid L-2 visa.
Make sure to submit the documents necessary for the L-2 visa validation. The documents will be your proof of a relationship and prove your eligibility for L-2 visa status.
In order to meet the requirements for L-2 visa status, you need to provide documents to USCIS. The documents will prove your relationship as a dependent of the primary L-1 visa holder. The L-2 EAD checklist includes:
Again, if there is any doubt about your relationship, the U.S. Consulate may request additional information to prove your legitimacy. That is why it may be advantageous for you to file your L-2 application along with the L-1 application submission.
If a decision is not made during the interview process, your application may be considered pending for administrative processing. The officer reviewing your application may need further information to complete the L-3 administrative process. You won’t be left in the dark if this is the case; the consular office will tell you the next steps to take, including which documents and information to provide before your deadline.
The validity period for L-2 visas is the same for the time frame of your L-1 family member. As a dependent visa, the L-2 visa duration follows the transferring employee’s status, which could be up to three years for the initial period of stay.
Each level of L-1 visas has a certain amount of time to extend their stay that also enables L-2 visa extension:
If you are looking for an L-2 dependent visa extension, your extension is dependent on your L-1 family member’s request for extension.
Though processing time is subject to change depending on your case, the average L-2 visa processing time takes about a month. Again, each case may vary, especially if your L-2 is pending post-interview. Speak with your immigration attorney for help with specific dates and times for processing.
More often than not, USCIS will grant your L-2 visa if you provide the required documents for the L-2 visa process. If your intention of applying for the L-2 visa is anything other than accompanying your family member, your L-2 visa application may be rejected or even revoked.
The following fees include the following:
As an L-2 visa holder, you are given specific privileges for the dependent visa. One of the main benefits is that you are able to work in the United States if you obtain L-2 EAD status. You will be able to work full-time or part-time with an approved EAD. Other benefits include:
If you are interested in transferring your visa status, you have a few options. It may be beneficial for you to speak with your immigration lawyer about what nonimmigrant visa may be best for you. You may be eligible to obtain one of the following visas:
Consult your immigration attorney if you are interested in another nonimmigrant visa. You will most likely need to reapply for your EAD, as your L-2 EAD will no longer be valid once you change your status.
One of the main benefits of applying for L-2 status is the ability to obtain employment authorization for your L-2 visa. You are able to apply for Employment Authorization Documents (EAD) by filing Form I-765. Once you get your EAD card, you will then need to get your Social Security Number (SSN). You can get an SSN for your work permit, however, there is no L-2 visa dependent child SSN. Children are not eligible for an SSN. Your employment authorization L-2 visa will open up employment opportunities during your stay in the United States.
Your L-2 EAD status is valid for two years at a time, yet can be renewed as long as you have your L-2 status. The wait time for obtaining your EAD documents varies on what service center you need to file your application at. To renew, you’ll need to submit L-2 EAD extension documents to USCIS.
The L-2 visa work permit is not given automatically. You will need to apply and can do so either at the same time as you apply for L-2 visa status or independently. L-2 visa work permit rules are fairly broad, allowing you to work either full-time or part-time in whatever field you choose. Oftentimes, the L-2 EAD is called an open market employment authorization because of its lack of restrictions.
As an L-2 visa holder, you are considered to be of dual intent. Unlike many other nonimmigrant visas, the L-1 and L-2 visa together are eligible to apply for a green card. You can also apply for your green card without compromising your current visa status as an L-2 visa holder. Many nonimmigrant visas require proof that you will not pursue immigrant status. However, L status visas offer a unique and beneficial pathway to citizenship.
You will need to change your dependent status to a new dependent status. For example, if your spouse/parent adjusts their status to become an H-1 visa holder, then you will need to change your status to become an H-4 visa holder. You will also change your L-2 EAD status since you will no longer have L-2 visa status.
A NOC is a No Objection Certificate. A NOC letter is from an institution or employer stating that they approve of the visa applicant. A NOC for your L-1 family member from their employer may be helpful in your case for obtaining L-2 status. Speak to your immigration attorney about what the letter should look like. It is typical for the employer to already have a written statement for the L-1 family member.
If you have questions about how to get a dependent visa for the USA, contact the experienced attorneys at Scott D. Pollock & Associates P.C. today. We can walk you through the steps of filing for an L-2 visa and L-2 EAD status. We have been helping family members accompany their loved ones to the United States for over 30 years. Contact us at 312.444.1940 or fill out an online form today. We look forward to hearing from you.