L2 Visa Process for Spouse and Children
The dependents of L1 visa holders, including spouses and unmarried children (under 21 years old), are eligible to accompany their relative on an L2 visa. If you file your petition and it is approved, your period of stay will be valid for the same duration as the L1 visa holder. There are many benefits of this non-immigrant status as we’ll explore in this post on the L2 visa process for dependents.
L2 Visa Documents
In order to qualify and proceed with the L-2 visa application process, you will need to submit the following documents:
- DS-160 Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application (exclusively done online). You will need to bring the confirmation printout of the completed application.
- Valid passport
- Passport-style photo. See the Department of State’s guidelines surrounding passport photos.
- Original marriage certificate
- Marriage photographs of both you and husband/wife
- For children, you will need the original birth certificate for each dependent
- Written approval of the primary L1 holder (parent or spouse)
- L1 holder’s employment verification letter
- L1 holder’s I-797 form
- Visa application fee
- Visas issuance fee
The L2 visa processing time takes about 30 days although this may vary from case to case. It’s ideal to contact a qualified attorney to get the most accurate answer.
Employment Authorization Documents (EAD)
A significant advantage of L2 status is the ability to work by obtaining employment authorization documents (EAD). The L2 visa process for an EAD card involves filing the appropriate documents with USCIS. From there, after obtaining your EAD card you’ll need to go to the Social Security Office to get your SSN.
What’s great, is you are not restricted about where you can work. The EAD allows you to work for any business in the U.S. on a full or part-time basis. Many refer to this an open market employment authorization. EAD documents should be issued 90 days from filing, though that wait time varies greatly on the service center chosen.
The EAD for L2 dependents and spouses is issued for 2 years at a time and can be renewed provided that the individual maintains a valid status. You have the option to file your EAD application by itself or at the same time as your application to extend or change your status (Form I-539).
Planning on applying for an EAD after completing the L2 visa process for yourself? It’s best to contact an immigration attorney to learn the fastest route for your case and to make sure that all documents are filed correctly to avoid denials or unnecessary delays.
L2 Visa Change of Status
L2 visa holders can change their status to B1, B2, H1 or H4, assuming they meet the eligibility requirements for each. In order to request a change of status or extension of stay under L2 status, while in the U.S., the relatives may apply together on Form I-539 Application to change or extend nonimmigrant status.
L2 Visa Denials
In most cases, an L2 visa is granted if the L1 worker and his/her dependents meet the requirements. Based on USCIS regulations, the parents of L1 holders are not considered dependents (for L2 dependent visas) even if the L1 holder is their primary caretaker.
USCIS does, however, retain the right to revoke or deny a visa in the L-2 visa process if it is found that the purpose is not being used to accompany or remain with the principal L1 worker. Work alongside your immigration attorney to make sure that all necessary steps are taken to ensure a smooth process.
L-2 Visa Privileges
The L2 visa status comes with a number of advantages including the ability to:
- Live legally in the U.S. on a temporary basis.
- Attend school or study full-time in the U.S.
- Work part-time or full-time once approved for an EAD
- Transfer to another non-immigrant status like F1, B1/B2, H1 and L1
- Ability to travel in and out of U.S. on brief international trips.
L2 to Green card
One of the biggest advantages of the L class visas is the fact that they are considered to be “dual intent”, meaning that while under L status, you can apply for your green card without affecting your current nonimmigrant status. This is in contrast to some other work visas such as the TN or J1 visas, which would be jeopardized if the holder attempted to obtain his or her green card.
L2 Application Tips
A few tips when going through the L2 visa process for dependents:
- If you and your spouse (L1 visa holder) are both filing together, it’s best to submit your applications simultaneously.
- If your last name was changed after your marriage, endorse the change in your passport first otherwise you’ll need to use your maiden name in the U.S.
- Double check that you have enough wedding photographs showing both you and your spouse. These are necessary for demonstrating a bona fide marriage.
- After receiving your visa, be sure there are no errors in the name, DOB, validity date, etc.
- L2 status can be renewed/extended at the same time the primary L1 visa holder renews theirs. Be aware that you can’t leave the U.S. and re-enter if you don’t have a valid visa.
- It is important to remember that your time in the country while on an L-2 visa will not count against the 6-year maximum limit for H1B professionals if you decide to switch to H-1B status.
L2 Visa Renewal
As an L2 holder, you will be able to renew or extend your visa when your L1 spouse of parent does so. To do this, you can either file for an extension of status from inside the U.S. or you can travel to a U.S. Consulate or Embassy to apply for a new visa there.
However, this second option may require you to remain outside the U.S. for several weeks until your visa is processed. Consult your immigration attorney to learn which route is the most appropriate for your situation.
L2 Visa Fees
On top of the requisite fees for the obligatory L1 visa, here are some of the L2 visa fees and costs to expect when going through the application process:
- The DS-160 application has a filing fee of $160
- All nonimmigrants that enter the U.S. at a border crossing are subject to a border crossing fee of $160 is you are over 15 years old or $16 if you are under 15 years old. Speak with your immigration attorney to learn if this fee applies to you.
- Some additional costs may include:
- Attorney fees. See our flat immigration attorney fees.
- Travel costs
How Our L2 Visa Attorneys Can Help
The attorneys at SGM Law Group can help you or your spouse file an L1 visa petition along with any L-2 visas accompanying it. With hundreds of successful approvals, we have the knowledge and expertise to get your case rolling.
Contacting one of our highly experienced attorneys is easy. Just take a moment to fill out this contact form to schedule a comprehensive consultation for your case. During that time we’ll go over all of your options and conduct an initial case review.