What is an L2 Visa?
The L2 visa is a nonimmigrant US visa issued to dependents of L1 visa holders. Immediate family members of L1 visa holders may enter and stay in the United States by obtaining L2 visas. Eligible family members for an L2 visa include spouses and children (under age 21) of L1 visa holders.
L2 Visa Eligibility
Spouses and children of L1 visa holders with valid L1 visa status are eligible to apply for L2 visa. Eligible L2 visa applicants include:
- Dependent Spouse of L1 visa holder
- Dependent, unmarried children (under 21 years of age) of L1 visa holder
Note: Parents are not eligible for L2 visa. L1 visa holders who wish to bring their parents to the US with them may not apply for an L2 visa for their parents. Parents may only visit their L1 visa children by obtaining a US visitor visa.
Benefits of L2 Visa
Spouses and children with L2 visa status may legally:
- Live in the US.
- Attend school in the US.
- Work part-time or full-time after obtaining an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
- Apply for other nonimmigrant status including H1, F1, B1, B2, and L1 visas.
- Apply for immigrant visas (green card).
- Travel within and outside the US on short trips and return.
Working on L2 Visa
Spouses of L1 visa holders on L2 visa status are eligible to apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), or L2 visa work permit, and work in the United States. An approved EAD is required for an L2 visa holder to work in the US. The basic steps for working on L2 visa are listed below.
- File for EAD card.
- Submit application for a Social Security Number.
- Apply for part-time or full-time work at any US business.
An EAD card is valid for two years, but may be renewed as long as the individual maintains L2 visa status. EAD application and Form I-539, Application to Extend or Change Nonimmigrant Status, may be filed together.
Dependent children on L2 visa status are not eligible to apply for EAD.
L2 Visa Validity
L2 visa holders are authorized to stay in the US for as long as the principal L1 visa holder has a valid visa. The L1 visa holder may stay for a period of three years, extendable to a maximum of five years. After this, the visa holder has to stay out of the country for a minimum of one year before he may apply for a new visa or adjustment towards another visa status. This time frame applies to the dependent L2 visa holder as well.
Documents Required for L2 Visa
When applying for L2 visa, you will need to provide the following documents for your L2 visa application.
- CEAC Barcode printout. This is the application confirmation page, you will get once you complete the US Visa application form DS-160 online. See a sample DS-160 form.
- US visa application fee.
- US Visa Interview appointment letter that you get at the time of taking appointment for US visa interview.
- Valid passport of each applicant.
- One photograph: 2 and 2 inches square (50 mm square) for each applicant, showing full face, without head covering, against a light background. To be used in the application Form.
- US consulates are very particular about the Photographs specifications. You must follow these guidelines for photographs required for US visa.
- Demand draft for visa issuance fee.
- For current visa fees rate and payment details, please visit Current US Visa Fee.
- If the applicant is below 14 years of age, Original Birth Certificate of this applicant (child) is required.
- Your original marriage certificate.
- Entire wedding photo album.
- A copy of each sides marriage invitation card.
- All 36 pages of the principal applicant's(L1 holder's) passport (if not applying with principal applicant). If a copy of the passport is submitted, it should be a GOOD copy and the photo must be clearly identifiable
- Copy of spouse's L1 approved petition. Form I-129 (if Form I-797 is a blanket permit, copy of Form I-797 and I-129) of the Principal Applicant, and letter from employer that describes the relationship with the Principal Applicant and the purpose of travel.
- Spouse's(L1 holder's), employment verification letter.
- Pay stubs from principal applicant's L1's current place of work.
- Copy of L1 holder's income tax return.
- Demand draft for visa issuance Fee.
L2 Visa Application Tips
Keep the following in mind when applying for L2 visa.
- Note: While providing the information to take visa interview and filing online application form visa applicants should indicate clearly their Last Name and Given Name. South Indian names, for instance are inevitably on the first line instead of breaking up into First name and Last name.
- Applicants should check their passport and if the whole name is given in one line, they should get the same changed from passport office before applying for a visa.
- Both you and your L1 spouse may submit your L1 and L2 visa applications together if you are applying simultaneously.
- It is advisable to get your spouse's name endorsed on your passport beforehand.
- If after marriage your last name has changed, then it's better to endorse the change in your passport beforehand. Otherwise you will have to continue your maiden name here.
- Make sure that the wedding album has sufficient marriage photographs. All the snaps must be very clear and easy to identify both the bride, and the bridegroom. Photographs showing some marriage rituals are must.
**Example: Few photographs around the agni ceremony, if your marriage is Hindu marriage.
- Upon receiving your visa, carefully check for any kind of mistakes like name, date of birth, type of visa, validity date, etc.
L2 Visa FAQs
What if Consulate hold my case under Section 221(g)?
If your visa was not issued under Section 221(g) of the United States Immigration and Nationality Act, it means that your case requires further administrative action. It is not a refusal, just a delay.
The consular officer will return your passport. You may return to the Consulate on any working day with the required additional documents. Please follow the instructions that were given to you at the time your case was put on hold. The application fee paid to schedule the initial interview remains valid for the subsequent interview up to one year from date of payment.
What happens if my spouse (L1 visa holder) changes his/her status?
If the L1 visa holder changes visa status from L1 to H1 visa status, for example, your L2 visa status will also change to a new dependent status. If the L1 visa holder changes to H1, your status changes to H4 visa.