USA and the UK
What is an L-2 Visa?
If one of your relatives is living in the U.S. under an L1 Intra-Company Visa, you may be able to join them by applying for an L-2 Visa.
This is a non-immigrant permit that is issued to eligible dependents of foreign workers employed in the United States.
Under U.S. immigration law, eligible family members include spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21.
Because the L-2 Visa is issued for dependents of the L-1 Visa, it is important to understand what the L-1 Visa involves.
There are two types of L-1 Visa (L-1A and L-1B). The L-1A Visa is designed for individuals in an eligible executive and management role.
The exact nature of the role is defined in the immigration rules and applicants must ensure that they can demonstrate how they meet the requirements.
The L-1A Visa is issued for three years and can be extended for up to seven years.
The L-2B Visa is for ‘specialized knowledge staff,’ which refers to individuals with knowledge of the business’s products, systems, proprietary techniques, management, or procedures.
This visa is issued for three years and can be extended for up to five years.
The L-1 Visa cannot be used to obtain a green card, but the requirements of the L-1A Visa are similar to the EB-1C Visa which is an employment-based green card.
What are the requirements for an L2 Visa?
The L-2 Visa is designed for dependents of L-1 Visa holders. If the holder of the L-1 Visa changes or switches their visa, the L-2 Visa holder must also do the same based on their category of visa.
The visa is usually issued to foreign specialized workers who are going to be employed in a branch of their company in the U.S.
If one of your relatives is currently in the U.S. under this permit, you can apply for an L-2 Visa.
However, only immediate family members are eligible to apply. Grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. are not eligible for the L-2 Visa.
This means that one of the following must apply to your circumstances:
- You are the spouse of an L-1 Visa holder
- You are the unmarried child under the age of 21 of a foreign specialized worker
If you do not fall into one of those categories, you may still enter the U.S. to visit your family. For example, you can apply for a B-2 Tourist Visa.
What are the documents required for an L2 Visa?
To apply for an L-2 Visa, you can either file your form together with the L-1 Visa petition or at a later date. In either case, you must submit certain documents to support your application and prove your eligibility.
- Completed Form DS-160 online non-immigrant status visa application
- A valid passport for each applicant (if you are traveling with your children)
- One photograph of each applicant, showing the full face. It must comply with the guidelines required by your local U.S. consulate
- An original birth certificate of every applicant under the age of 14
- An original marriage certificate (if you are the dependent spouse of an L visa holder)
- A copy of the main approved L petition
- A confirmation letter from the primary L-1 Visa holder and a letter from the visa holder’s employer
Depending on your circumstances, you may be required to submit further information to USCIS. This information should be submitted promptly to prevent delays with your application.
How can I get an L2 Visa work permit?
Dependent spouses of L-1 Visa holders can live and work in the U.S. on the L-2 status. However, before you can seek employment, you need to apply for an EAD (Employment Authorization Document).
By doing this, you will be issued a Social Security Number which is a mandatory requirement for working in the United States.
Once you have your Employment Authorization Document, you will be able to apply for part-time or full-time jobs at any U.S. business. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) refers to this as ‘open market employment authorization.’
Your EAD card is only valid for two years and you can apply for a renewal, providing that you maintain your L-2 Visa status.
To be eligible for this visa, eligible children must be under the age of 21. If they are older than this, they will not be allowed to apply for an Employment Authorization Document nor seek employment in the U.S.
How long does the L-2 Visa last?
Your L-2 Visa will last for the same length as the principal L-1 Visa holder. In other words, you can stay in the U.S. for as long as your relative holds a valid permit.
As a general rule, an L-1 visa is valid for up to three years. It can then be extended to a maximum of five or seven years (depending on the type of L visa).
After this period, the visa holder will need to spend at least one year outside the U.S. before they can apply for a new visa. The same conditions apply for dependents who hold an L-2 Visa.
If you wish to spend more time in the U.S., you may be eligible to apply for a different permit while your current visa is still valid.
Can you switch to a new visa?
Yes, in most cases you will be eligible to switch from the L-2 Visa to another visa category.
Depending on your circumstances and the new visa you would like to apply for, you may be able to switch to the F-1 Student Visa, the H-1B Visa, the H-4 Work Visa, or even the L-1 Visa if you meet the requirements.
If you have been issued an Employment Authorization Document, you may request that your employer sponsors you for the H-1B Visa.
If your L-1 dependent switches their visa category while you are resident in the U.S., your status will also change.
For example, if your relative moves from an L-1 to a H-1 Visa, you can switch from the L-2 to the H-2 Visa.
You should be aware that your EAD issued under the L-2 Visa status will not be valid after you switch and you must apply for a new one.
How can your immigration lawyers help me?
To file a successful application, you must submit a comprehensive portfolio of evidence. It is crucial to demonstrate your relationship with the main L visa holder to get your permit to enter the U.S.
To remove the stress from your L-2 Visa application process, you can entrust your case with one of IAS immigration experts. You will be paired with one of our best immigration lawyers, who will:
- Review your case and check your eligibility
- Prepare a Letter of Representation to highlight the merits of your application
- Liaise with USCIS on your behalf while your case is being processed
- Liaise with your U.S. sponsor and gather the necessary documents from your company
- Support you and your loved ones through the entire L-2 application process
Call us today on +1 844 290 6312 to speak with one of our immigration experts and learn more about our services.
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Once you get your L-2 Visa, you can join your family in the U.S. In addition, you can legally:
- Attend school in the U.S.
- Work either part of full-time. This will be possible only after obtaining an L-2 Visa work permit, or EAD
- Open a bank account
- Apply for another nonimmigrant status visa
- Seek an adjustment of status and get an immigrant permit (green card)
- Travel freely within and outside the U.S.
If you wish to get more benefits and settle in the U.S. with the aim of applying for U.S. citizenship, you will need to adjust your status and petition for a different visa once in the country.
There are some additional L-2 Visa documents that you may wish to attach to your application form. For example, you may also submit to the USCIS:
- Your wedding photo album or other pictures of time that you spent together as a couple
- A letter from the main L visa’s sponsor that described the relationship between the principal applicant and their dependents
- A copy of your tax return to disclose your financial situation and prove that you can support yourself financially
Yes, L-2 Visa holders are allowed to attend school in the U.S. on either a part-time or full-time basis.