What is the L2 visa?
Spouses and children of L1 visa holders can come to the United States with them on the L2 visa. To be eligible for the L2 visa, spouses must be legally married to people coming to the United States on the L1 visa, and children must be unmarried and under 21 years of age. Other family members such as parents, siblings or grandparents cannot apply for the L2 visa.
The L1 visa is intended to facilitate the temporary transfer of people employed abroad to a U.S. branch or a U.S.-based subsidiary of the company they work for. Once the L1 visa is granted, foreign workers can continue to work at this company in the United States.
If the L2 visa application is successful, spouses coming to the United States can apply for an employment authorization document and also work in the United States. You can apply as soon as you arrive in the country. After your application is approved by USCIS, you can begin looking for work.
What are the requirements for the L2 visa?
The L2 visa is designed for dependents of L1 visa holders. Only those whose relatives are currently in the United States on the L1 permit are eligible for the L2 visa. To be eligible for the L2 visa one of the following declarations must apply:
● You are legally married to an L1 visa holder
● You are an unmarried child under the age of 21 of an L1 visa holder.
This is the main requirement for the L2 visa. If you don’t fit into any of these categories but want to come to the United States to be with your loved one, you may want to consider applying for a different U.S. visa. For example, you could apply for the B2 tourist visa instead. If your application is accepted, you will be able to come to the United States for vacation but you will not be able to work while you are there.
What documents must be attached to the application?
In order to proceed with the L2 visa request, you will need to present the following documents:
● A valid passport
● A passport-sized photo
● An original marriage or birth certificate
● Additional evidence of your relationship with the L1 visa holder such as photographs
● A copy of your relative’s approved petition for the L1 visa
● The letter of employment from your relative who holds the L1 visa
● Pay slips of your L1 visa holder relative if he or she already works in the United States
● Confirmation that you have paid the visa application fee
If you do not include these documents, your visa application may be delayed or even rejected. If you are unsure what documents are required, seek advice from our experienced immigration lawyers. They will help you prepare a portfolio of evidence, ensuring your application is complete.
How to apply for the L2 visa?
If you are a spouse or unmarried child under the age of 21 of an L1 visa holder and wish to apply for the L2 visa, you must:
- Complete the DS-160 Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application. This is the first necessary step to start the application process. Once you have filled out all the information requested by the form, you will receive a confirmation page. Make sure you print it out and keep it as you will need to show it during your visa interview at a later stage in the application process.
- Pay the registration fee. To complete and submit Form DS-160, you will need to pay the $160 application fee. Sometimes you may also have to pay additional fees, depending on where you are from.
- Schedule a visa interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country. It is an essential part of the application process. Without the interview you will not be able to receive a visa and travel to the United States.
- Schedule and attend your biometric appointment. During your appointment, officials working at the Visa Application Center will collect your fingerprints, photos and other information that may be requested by immigration officials. You must attend the biometric appointment before going to the visa interview. It is not possible to schedule both on the same date.
- Attend the visa interview. Once your biometric data has been collected, you can participate in the L2 visa interview. The purpose is to verify whether the information included in the application is authentic. The interview usually lasts no more than 20 minutes.
- If you meet the eligibility criteria and all the information provided in the application is true, you can expect a positive result. In most cases, if your visa is approved, the consular officer will inform you immediately after the interview. You can expect to receive your L2 visa within 10 working days of your interview date.
How long is the L2 visa valid?
If your L2 visa application is successful, your visa will be valid as long as your relative’s L1 visa lasts. This means you can stay in the United States as long as the L1 visa holder has permission to be there. Once you receive your L2 visa, you will be able to leave and rent the United States as often as you like.
Generally the L1 visa has a maximum validity of three years with the possibility of obtaining further extensions of two years up to a maximum of five-seven years. The maximum duration of the L1 visa depends on the type of employment of your relative.
Thereafter, the L1 visa holder will need to leave the United States and spend at least one year outside the country before applying for a new U.S. visa. The same applies to L2 visa holders.
If you wish to stay in the United States for longer than the validity of your L2 visa, you may be able to switch to a different type of visa, such as the F1 student visa, before it expires. Additionally, if you have received your employment authorization document, you can ask your US employer to sponsor you for the H1B Highly Skilled Professionals visa.
If a relative of yours who holds an L1 visa changes their visa category while you are in the United States on an L2 visa, your status will also change. If you received the employment authorization document on your L2 visa, you will need to apply for it again when you move to a different state.
What questions will I be asked during the L2 visa interview?
There is no fixed list of questions that L2 visa applicants are asked during the visa interview. However, you can expect to receive questions regarding your personal information, the type of relationship with the L1 visa holder, the financial situation of you and your spouse, any previous trips to the United States, any children you may have, the purpose of your visit to the United States or your education and qualification.
If you are applying for the L2 visa to join your spouse, during the interview the immigration officer may also ask you to show photographs of you and your partner, your wedding invitations, your joint tenancy agreement or any other evidence confirming the authenticity of your L2 visa. relation.
You should answer all questions truthfully as lying during your visa interview may result in your L2 visa application being rejected. If you’re stressed about your interview, talk to our immigration lawyers. They can explain what you can expect from the appointment and can help you prepare for the interview.
Can I work with the L2 visa?
When you are granted the L2 visa, you do not automatically receive the right to work in the United States. However, you can apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) immediately after arriving in the country. If your application is successful, you will be able to apply for a job and work legally in the United States. In addition to the EAD, you will also need to obtain a Social Security number.
As long as you have an approved EAD, you can work in any profession you want as the EAD represents an authorization for employment on the open market. However, the relative who is in the United States on the L1 visa can only work for the employer who submitted the application to initiate the visa application.
Your EAD is only valid for two years, but if you maintain your L2 visa status for a longer period, you will be able to apply for a renewal.
Can I study with an L2 visa?
Individuals receiving the L2 visa can enroll and study in a U.S. school on a part-time or full-time basis. Sometimes, as an L2 visa holder, you may be eligible for in-state tuition fees that tend to be lower than regular college tuition rates.
What can I do with the L2 visa?
Once your L2 visa application is successful, you will be able to come to the United States and enjoy numerous benefits that include the ability to:
● Study part or full-time at a US institution
● Work part-time or full-time as long as an employment authorization document is obtained
● Travel to the United States
● Travel to other countries and return to the United States once your L2 visa is valid
● Open a bank account in the United States
● Switch to a different US visa.
While you are in the United States on your L2 visa, you may be able to apply for an adjustment of status and apply for a U.S. green card that would allow you to settle permanently in the United States.
How long does L2 visa processing take?
Most L2 visa applications are processed within 30 days of submitting all required documents and attending the visa interview. If the US consulate or embassy where you are applying deals with a large number of visa applications and appointments, you may have to wait longer.
Can the L2 visa application be rejected?
Most L2 visa applications are successful because they are designed to prevent the separation of L1 visa holders from their loved ones. However, if you do not include some of the documents required or wanted in your application and immigration officials find out, your L2 visa may be denied.