Yes, the spouse of an L1 visa holder can work in the United States. An Employment Authorization Document used to be required, but USCIS has updated the guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual to address the documentation that certain E and L nonimmigrant spouses may use as evidence of employment authorization based on their nonimmigrant status.
On November 12, 2021, USCIS clarified that L spouses are now considered employment authorized based on their valid L nonimmigrant status. Since the November 2021 announcement, the Department of Homeland Security added new Class of Admission (COA) codes to distinguish between L spouses and children. As of January 30, 2022, USCIS and CBP began issuing Forms I-94 with L-2S code for L spouse. An unexpired Form I-94 reflecting one of these new codes is acceptable as evidence of employment authorization for spouses.
It’s important to note that the L1 visa holder’s spouse can only work in the United States for the duration of the L1 visa holder’s authorized stay in the United States.
To obtain an L1 visa to work in the United States, your employer outside the US must first have a qualifying relationship with a U.S.-based employer. This means that you must either be an executive, manager, or specialized knowledge employee of a multinational company that has a subsidiary, branch, affiliate, or parent company in the United States. Your employer must also file a petition on your behalf with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).