L-1 Visa for Spouses

L-1 Visa Spouses: Automatic Work Authorization for L-2 Visa Holders on the Horizon

Spouses of L-1 Visa holders look set to be granted automatic working rights in the US in a huge win for holders of L-2 Visas. A class action lawsuit was launched by affected people who claimed the long waits for authorizations and renewals made them uncompetitive and had caused them to lose jobs.

Spouses of L-1 Visa holders are required to apply for Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) and also for subsequent extensions. Long delays, exacerbated by Covid-19, have meant that approvals and extensions have not been granted in time.

The class action lawsuit was launched in March, and now it looks as though the government has decided to settle the case by offering automatic working rights and automatic extensions for spouses on L-2 visas. The change will also affect the spouses of H-1B visa holders who are in the United States on H-4 Visas.

It is not yet clear when the changes will take effect.

What is the L-1 Visa?

The L-1 Visa allows for the intracompany transfer of staff to established or newly formed offices in the United States. The L-1A Visa is for employees at executive or managerial level and the L-1B Visa is for employees with specialized knowledge. Both L-1A Visa and L-1B Visa holders can take spouses and dependent children under the age of 21 to the US with them. Spouses and dependents are issued an L-2 Visa and spouses can work provided they apply for authorization.

To find out more about how you can move staff to the US or expand your business there using the L-1 Visa, please contact Verdie Atienza head of our L-1 Practice.

Hear from an L-1 Client who went through the process during Covid-19


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