Who is it for: L-2 visas are for spouses and unmarried children under the age 21 of L-1 visa holders. Also referred to as an Intracompany Transferee Visa, an L-1 visa has two classifications. An employer in the United States can transfer an executive or manager from a foreign office to America under an L-1A visa. An employer in the United States can transfer an employee with specialized knowledge to America under an L-1B visa.
It is important to note that some L-1 visa holders attempt to bring their parents to the United States under the auspices of an L-2 visa. For visa purposes, parents are not considered dependents and may not enter the country under an L-2 visa. However, parents are free to visit family members in the United States for short durations after securing a visitor’s visa.
Immigrant or Non-immigrant visa: Nonimmigrant visa
Check Your Eligibility
Duration: For L-2 visa holders, the allotted visa stay in the United States is generally the same as the L-1 worker they accompany.
L-1 visa holders who are executives with a company who already has an established office or offices in the United States are permitted to stay in the country initially for three years. L-1 visa holders who are with a company setting up a new presence in the United States are allowed an initial stay of one year. In both instances, employees can request an extension to stay in the United States for an additional two years. L-2 visa holders may also do the same by completing a Form I-539.
The maximum stay for L-1A visa holders and their accompanying L2 visa holders is seven years. The maximum stay for L-1B visa holders and their accompanying L2 visa holders is five years.
Details: L-2 visa holders can travel in and out of the United States freely as long as their L-2 visa status remains valid.
L-2 visa holders are also allowed to attend school on a full-time or part-time basis.
Check Your Eligibility
Spouses of L-1 workers holding an L-2 visa may apply to work in the United States by filing an Application for Employment Authorization Document (EAD), Form I-765. Once an EAD is approved, the visa holder should apply for a Social Security number, and after it is received, they can work anywhere in the United States without restrictions. Children are not permitted to work under an L-2 visa while they are in the United States.
If an L-1 visa holder decides to apply for a United States Green Card, their accompanying L-2 spouse and unmarried children under 21 can also apply for a Green Card as well by applying for an adjustment of status.
To apply: Before a spouse and unmarried children under 21 can apply for L-2 visas, an L-1 applicant’s employer needs to file a Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, Form I-129 on the employee’s behalf, along with supporting documents that show the company meets qualifying requirements.
Upon approval of Form I-129, the employee and their L-2 applicant spouse and children can apply for a visa at the embassy or consulate of their home country. In additional to other supporting documents, the spouse will need to submit an original version of a marriage certificate.
Application fees for an L-2 visa are currently $190 per application.
For more information: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has detailed information on L-1B Intracompany Transferee Specialized Knowledge visas.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has detailed information on L-1A Intracompany Transferee Executive or Manager visas.
The U.S. Bureau of Consular Affairs also has a good overview page for L category visas.