USA L2 Dependent Visa: Eligibility, Procedure & Processing Time

Are you presently staying in the USA on L1 Visa and want your spouse or kids to join you? Then, a L2 Visa (USA dependent visa) is all that you need.

What is the USA L2 Visa?

The USA L2 Visa is a non-immigrant visa issued to you as an L1 visa holder to invite your dependents or close relatives to reside with you in the United States. This visa type is primarily an initiative to reunite close family members in the USA for and give them an opportunity of a long-term stay.

However, certain conditions may be applied in doing so. You need to follow the rules about eligibility for obtaining this visa.  In order to get the visa at the first attempt, seek an expert advice and get your process done by an immigration services provider. This not only speeds up the process to live in the USA but also gets you verified paperwork done.

Are you eligible to apply for L2 Visa?

The authorities ‘define’ this concept of ‘close relatives’ who can travel to the USA through an l-2 visa. But how do we know that who are these close relatives? Here’s your answer!

Generally the spouse and the unmarried kids under 21 years of age are qualified as close relatives. This means that being a foreign national, you can apply for L-2 visa only for your spouse and kids. Again, your spouse opting for L-2 visa needs to be a ‘dependent’. If she/he is willing to work in the USA, some rules are applicable on a L2-Visa. Now comes the question, what about the guardians?

Many people assume that this visa is applicable to even guardians or parents of the L1 visa holder. The parents/guardians cannot qualify for an L-2 visa. As the country will treat your parents as ‘guests’, they are allowed to enter USA only on a visitor visa. Similar is with guardians.

With this being said, there will also be several restrictions on their employment in the country.

In all cases, the L1 visa holder needs to abide to certain eligibility norms when applying for this visa. His duration of stay on the L1-Visa is taken majorly into consideration.

The duration for which an L1 Visa Holder should be working in the US, to apply for L2 Visa:

After a job change, it is obvious that you would love to move to USA along with the close family members. The USCIS allows you to apply for L1 Visa & a non-immigrant L2 Visa at the same time. This can be good news for the aspirants eager for immigration.

However, the processing of application for L2 Visa can be made only once the L1 Visa is approved. The L-2 Visa links to the L1 Visa and is valid for 7 years. If you get an extension for L1 Visa, then the linked L1 dependent visas are also extended for the approved period.

With this being said, the L2 Visa holder can apply for work authorization after immigration to the USA.  The dependents are not eligible for employment through the non-immigrant visa. There is a separate procedure to get the employment authorization document.

You can seek for expert advice from an immigration attorney to know and understand these procedures and technicalities. They are the best sources to help you to acquire an L2 visa for the dependent non-immigrant travelling with you and can give you an estimated idea about the process timelines.

Duration needed to get an L2 Visa after processing and approval of L1 Visa:

It is very obvious that as soon as your spouse gets a long-term employment opportunity in the USA, you would want to accompany your spouse along with your dependent kinds. Well, you must have to hold your eagerness by at least 1-2 months. L1 Visa for your spouse, you can submit an application for l-2 visa.

Ideally, it takes around 15 to 30 days to get your L-2 visa after the application process of the L1 Visa. Sometimes, some factors may cause a delay in this processing time.

After your L2 visa is processed, you can apply for the Employment Authorization Document (EAD), which is a permit for your spouse to work in the USA.

Processing time to get an EAD for L2 Visa Holders:

As the L2 visa is more of a dependent non-immigrant visa, it does not gives your spouse the right to work. You are then required to apply for the EAD card of United States. It is important to ensure that your L1 Visa has at least 6 months of validity when you apply for an EAD for a dependent. Usually, it takes around 60-90 days to process and approve employment authorization.

Premium processing of your EAD Application:

If you are permanent resident of USA with a green card, you also have an option of premium processing of employment authorization for a dependent. For this, you are required to submit your EAD application along with your I-129 petition.

Your application should be complete and attested with all the required documents. You should also pay the specified fee. You should premium-processing request along with your other important documents. Recognized immigration lawyers can help you with your after visa EAD formalities.

The bad news is the EAD comes with a limited validity.

The good news is the EAD renewal can happen if your spouse is keen to continue working further in the United States. The application of renewal must be done at least 90 days before the expiry of the current EAD card.

In several cases, it renewal procedure may take longer time. Take help from an immigration services provider in order to get your can immigrant visa process and renewal process successful.

What is the procedure to get EAD for an l2 visa holder in the USA?

As EAD is granted only after the process of L2 visa, let us first understand the procedure of applying for an L2 visa.

  1. You need to complete the online application form DS160 as per USCIS rules. This is the form for dependent visa or a visitor visa. After your application process, you receive a 10 digit barcode. Don’t forget to take printout of this application. It will help you at the visa interview.

You need to attach digital photograph of each applicant. The required format of the photograph:

a) The photograph should be square in shape

b) It should be in JPEG format

c) The size needs to be least 600 X 600 pixels to largest 2400 X 2400 pixels

d) It should be a colour photograph with largest 24 bits per pixel

  1. You are required to make payment towards your application fee. You can make the payments in various modes:
  • You can pay electronically,
  • You can pay through cashier’s check
  • Or in cash in the financial institutions specified by the authorities.

2. You can make the payments from India. For that, you need to create your profile on the immigration services USCIS website. This will help you to see proper deposition of amount and account activation. You can choose ‘Schedule an Appointment’ option.

3. As a next step for your quick immigration, you need to schedule an appointment for a visa interview. All the process can be done online except this aspect. Here, it is advisable to hire a reputed immigration attorney as they will help you in scheduling the appointment.

4. Another important formality is scheduling an appointment for fingerprinting of the applicants. You can schedule this, one or two days before the interview at the consulate or embassy. Visa Application Center arranges to take fingerprints before the interview.

5. Finally, you need to attend the interview at the US consulate as per the schedule. You need to prepare for the interview and answer the questions clearly. The authorities may ask about the status you are opting for after your immigration.

Documents you need to carry at the time of the visa interview:

It is important to carry the required documents. The authorities verify the documents at the time of interview.

  • Photograph of the applicant as per the norms of the uscis.
  • You should carry the payment receipt number for the visa fee.
  • Confirmation for the schedule of appointment
  • DS-160 confirmation page
  • Copies of Form I-129 & I-797of the L1 Visa Holder
  • Passport & Visa of L1 Visa Holder
  • An offer letter copy of L1 Visa Holder stating the job profile
  • Proof of relationship with L1 Visa Holder. (Birth Certificate for children and Marriage Certificate for spouse)

Process of Applying for the EAD after L2 process

The employment authorization of the dependent is an important procedure. After the L2 Visa is acquired, the dependent can apply for an EAD card. Then only the dependent is eligible to work part-time.

The immigration services USCIS have strict norms about the immigration status of dependents. They link the dependent visa to the concerned L1 Visa. Yet, the dependents need to get the EAD approval if they wish to work in the USA.

It requires a processing time of the most 1 month to get the EAD.

Following is the procedure to apply for employment authorization:

  1. You need to file an application for EAD card of the dependents along with the filing fee.
  2. Along with this, you should apply for a social security number.
  3. You should also apply for low maintenance or full-time work status to any USA based company.

You can submit the documents together, such as:

  • Your EAD application,
  • Form I-539, Application for adjustment of status
  • Or change non immigrant status.

You receive an approval notice from the authorities. This is an important proof for availing various social security benefits.

It is important to note, that only the dependent spouses and not kids are qualified to apply for an EAD.

To understand the rights and procedures better, it is best advisable to get in touch with a reliable citizenship and immigration services. From visa process to employment authorization documentation, they tell you everything.