L-1 visa holders frequently inquire if their dependents can seek employment in the United States – a vital issue requiring adequate comprehension. In this detailed guide, we’ll investigate the possibilities and protocols for L-1 dependents’ work opportunities within the United States. At the end of this guide, you will possess all the essential facts required to make knowledgeable determinations regarding your loved ones’ prospects.

The L-1 Visa and Its Impact on Dependents

The L-1 visa serves as a vital bridge for multinational companies to transfer employees from their foreign offices to the United States. It comprises two primary categories:

Spouses and unmarried children under 21 who are dependents of L-1 visa holders can join the primary visa holder in the U.S. by obtaining an L-2 visa status.

Employment Prospects for Spouses of L-1 Visa Holders

Acquiring Work Authorization

L-2 visa holders are the significant others of L-1 visa holders and can work in the U.S. However, they must seek approval by applying for work authorization. This includes filing Form I-765 commonly referred to as “Application for Employment Authorization” with USCIS. If approved successfully, the partner gets issued an EAD (Employment Authorization Document) that permits unrestricted job-seeking rights within any U.S.-based firm.

Step-by-Step Process for Obtaining Employment Authorization

1.    Secure Your L-2 Status: Enter the United States with a valid L-2 visa, which allows dependents of L-1 visa holders to reside in the US.

2.    File Form I-765: This application formally requests Employment Authorization for you. Gather the required documents, including proof of your L-2 status, copies of your passport, and evidence of your spouse’s L-1 visa and employment.

3.    Receive Your EAD: Once your application is approved, you’ll be issued an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). This official card allows you to legally work for any US employer!

The EAD Application Process and Timeline

Obtaining an EAD involves a series of consecutive measures that may take several months to complete. Therefore, it is recommended to start the application process as soon as you arrive in the U.S. The essential steps are acquiring an L-2 visa, filling out Form I-765 accurately, attending compulsory biometric appointments if necessary, and waiting for USCIS’s decision.

Advantages of EAD

Upon approval, spouses with L-2 visas are given the liberty to look for work with any U.S. employer or venture into self-employment and entrepreneurial pursuits. This enhanced flexibility can greatly enhance their financial well-being and overall experience while in America.

Educational Opportunities for Children of L-1 Visa Holders

Even though unmarried children below 21 who hold L-2 visas cannot obtain work permits, they can still pursue their education in the United States. This enables them to continue their academic pursuits synonymously with the primary holder of an L-1 visa without interruption.

Distinguishing Between L-1A and L-1B Dependents

Dependents of L-1A Visa Holders

Individuals who hold L-1A visas generally assume managerial or executive positions within their company. Correspondingly, dependents can also pursue comparable procedures to attain job permits and academic prospects. Spousal candidates can solicit an EAD designation while children remain eligible for enrollment at U.S.-based educational establishments.

Dependents of L-1B Visa Holders

The possession of specialized knowledge by L-1B visa holders is crucial for their company’s operations. As a result, the procedures to obtain work authorization and pursue education are similar for dependents of such visa holders. Obtaining an EAD is necessary for spouses who wish to seek employment, whereas children can enroll in educational institutions within the United States.


The partners of individuals holding L-1 visas can seek employment in the U.S. by acquiring the Employment Authorization Document. This course requires obtaining an L-2 visa, submitting Form I-765 and patiently waiting for approval. Offspring are barred from seeking gainful employment while under this status. However, they may avail themselves to academic pursuits during their tenure within the country’s borders. A comprehensive grasp of these regulations alongside timely fulfillment of necessary paperwork imparts increased opportunities for families with L-1 designations who intend to make a home here in America.

If you are a dependent of an L-1 visa holder and looking to start your professional journey in the USA, don’t go solo. Experienced immigration professionals can help you navigate through the complexities of applying for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Start pursuing your career aspirations in America with expert guidance today!