Of the many concerns associated with immigrating to a new country, the most pressing questions may concern work. How will you support yourself and your family once you arrive in the United States? What benefits or restrictions apply if you are legally permitted to work but have yet to become a citizen? Employment approval can take time. Are you lawfully permitted to work before then?
Two documents help answer these valid questions: the L-2 visa and an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Spouses and dependent children of people eligible to work in the United States can acquire these documents to establish their independence in a new place. The immigration lawyers at Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C. will help you break down the requirements for these documents, how to obtain them, and whether you can work without them.
The L-2 visa applies to the dependents of an L-1 visa holder: spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21. The L-1 is a non-immigrant visa typically used for employees of overseas companies working at affiliated offices in the United States. The work can be temporary or may eventually become permanent.
The L-2 visa applies to spouses or children under 21 of the L-1 holder only and excludes the L-1 holder’s other family members or extended relatives. While they may be considered dependents of the L-1, they are not legally eligible for an L-2 visa.
Your immigration lawyer can assist you in providing accurate information for other relatives who want to acquire a work permit or eventual citizenship within the United States.
An Employment Authorization Document (EAD) is commonly referred to as a work permit or Form I-766. An EAD allows its holder to work anywhere in the United States. Individuals living in the United States who have applied for a green card can obtain an EAD even if their application is pending approval.
If your EAD is connected to your green card application, you can work in any available “open market” position. Your pending EAD does not bind you to one particular place of employment.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will provide a list of requirements to apply for an L-2 visa. To prove your eligibility, you will likely need:
There may be circumstances in which the United States consulate will request additional documents to submit with your application. Your immigration lawyer can explain if these circumstances apply to your situation.
L-2 spouses become eligible for an EAD immediately upon arrival in the U.S. They do not have to wait until they are hired to apply. Once the USCIS approves the application, you can begin looking for work. In the meantime, visit your local Social Security office to apply for a Social Security number. You will need your Social Security number for your new job.
Generally, there aren’t any restrictions on where L-2 visa holders are allowed to work in the United States. The caveat is that your EAD is already approved. The EAD is valid for two years. So long as your L-2 visa remains valid, you can renew or extend the EAD as needed.
However, an L-1 visa-holder spouse can only work for the United States-based employer that filed their petition.
The benefits of acquiring an L-2 visa allow you to access the following privileges:
Working in the United States without an EAD or an L-2 Visa is illegal. Unauthorized employment carries the risk of deportation and denial of re-entry into the country. Therefore, it is highly advised that prospective employees go through the proper channels to hold a job legally.
Navigating the laws of a new country (and possibly in a new language) is challenging. The immigration lawyers at Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C. are here to offer advice and guidance unique to your specific circumstances. Whether you are an L-1 holder already living in the United States or the spouse of one, we can guide you through the process of becoming authorized to hold legal employment.
For questions about our services and to schedule a consultation, contact us today.View Similar Articles