Family members, including spouses and dependent children, of L1 visa holders can come to the US on an L2 dependent visa. L2 spouses must be legally married to the L1 visa holder, and L2 children must be unmarried and under the age of 21.
L2 visa duration
L2 visa duration is for the same period of time as the spouse’s L1 visa.
L1A visas for executives and managers are initially granted for 3 years (if transferring the employee to an existing US office) or 1 year if the US office has been established for less than one yeare extendable in 2 year increments to a maximum of 7 years.
L1b visas for specialized knowledge workers are initially granted for 3 years (if transferring the employee to an existing US office) or 1 year if the US office has been established for less than one year, extendable to a maximum of 5 years.
L2 visa and employment
L2 spouses can apply for a US work visa by applying for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) by filing Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Once an EAD is approved L2 spouses can work in any job role in the US, including self-employment. However, employment authorisation could take months.
L2 EADs are valid for 2 years, and can be renewed indefinitely as long as the applicant retains their valid L2 visa status.
If you are a L2 spouse and plan to work in the US you should apply for an EAD immediately on arrival in the US; you should not wait until you have a job offer.
Unfortunately L2 children cannot work in the US.
L2 visa and studying
L2 spouses and L2 children may study at a US educational institution either full time or part time. L2 spouses may also work while they study provided they have obtained a US work visa (EAD) as outlined above.
However, L2 children cannot work while they study. If they wish to do so they will need to obtain an US work related visa. US visa laws are very restrictive. It may not be possible to obtain a work related visa for L2 dependent children.
L2 Visa and Green Cards
If the L1 visa holder applies for a US Green Card any L2 family members can be included on the application, and can apply for adjustment of status from inside the US. L1A executives and managers frequently qualify under the green card immigrant visa category EB1C as international executives and managers. This may be one of the best options to gain lawful permanent residence (a green card). See our L1 Visas and the EB1C Green Card section for more details.
Unfortunately, typically L1B visa holders and their families are likely to find it much more difficult to obtain a green card. It could take years in processing time for immigrant visa petitions not coming under the EB1C visa category.
L2 parents and other family members
Unfortunately the rules on L2 family members are very strict, Only legally married spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 of the principal L1 applicant can gain L2 visa status. Parents, grandparents, and other family members of the prinicipal L1 visa holder cannot enter the US on an L2 visa, but may be able to visit on a B2 visitor visa.
If you would like to apply for an L1 visa through workpermit.com, please fill out our application form.
Further information, help, and advice
Workpermit.com's team of specialists has over 25 years of experience in immigration services, and have helped thousands of people to study and work in the US. All applications for US visas are dealt with in-house by a US qualified lawyer who is likely to be a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).