Yes, your spouse and minor children may travel with you to the United States if you have a valid L-1 visa. However, they must apply for an L-2 visa for dependents to legally accompany you to America.
The L-2 visa is meant for the dependents of an L-1 visa holder: the husband or wife of the worker as well as any of their unmarried children under the age of 21. L-2 visa holders have a number of privileges: they can study in the United States without acquiring a F-1 visa for students and they can travel freely in the United States and the world.
The spouse of a L-1 visa holder is allowed to work as long as they attain an Employment Authorization Card from US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). These cards must be renewed every two years.
An L-2 visa is good for as long as the L-1 visa of the spouse or parent remains valid. The L-1 visa is a non-immigration visa that is valid for five to seven years.
The L-1 Visa Process Explained
If you are applying for an L-1 employment visa, you will likely have to file a lot of forms and stand in many lines before your application is complete. Our San Francisco immigration lawyers offer a general timeline of what you can expect before your L-1 visa is approved.
Here are the steps to filing an L-1 visa application to work in California
- Form I-129 submission. The parent company must file an L-1 visa petition (Form I-129) with the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS), along with supporting documents proving that both the U.S. company and the foreign affiliate branch meet the qualifications for L-1 classification.
- Form I-797 approval. If your Form I-129 is approved, the USCIS will issue a Notice of Action (Form I-797), stating that your application is valid. However, approval of the visa petition does not guarantee that a visa will be issued; the petitioner must take Form I-797 to the United States consulate or embassy in his home country to submit for visa approval.
- L-1 visa approval. The consular officer will evaluate your petition to ensure that you meet the employment qualifications and that the U.S. company and the foreign affiliate are legitimate businesses eligible for L-1 transfers.
- L-2 visa applications. If your L-1 visa is approved, you may submit L-2 visa applications at the consulate for your family members. Your spouse and unmarried children (under age 21) may accompany you. Your children may attend school but cannot work in the U.S.; your spouse may accept any legal employment of his or her choosing.
Although the L-1 is considered a non-immigration visa, there are no restrictions on an applicant having dual intent. This means L-1 applicants cannot be denied visas if they eventually intend to immigrate to the United States. At Jatoi & de Kirby, APC, we can help you transform your visa into a green card, allowing you and your family to stay in the U.S. indefinitely.
The L-1 visa for intercompany transfers is an important employment-based visa option, especially for businesses who want to start up a United States subsidiary or bring in skilled managers or executives from abroad to work in their American offices. However, how do you know if the L-1 visa is the best option when it comes to work-related visas? Let’s take a closer look at its benefits by comparing it to a few other common options:
L-1 Visa Versus the H-1B Skilled Worker Visa
There are a number of similarities between the L-1 visa and the H-1B visa, which allows American and international companies to bring highly skilled workers to the United States for employment. However, the L-1 visa does have several advantages: an L-1 worker does not need a degree, an L-1 company does not have to prove that a U.S. worker could not fill the position, and an L-1 visa does not have an annual quota.
L-1 Visa Versus the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa
Some business-minded immigrants can choose between the L-1 visa and the E-2 visa. The E-2 visa is also tailored for businesspeople that want to expand a business or open a new business in the United States. However, to qualify for an E-2 visa, the foreigner must originate from a country that has a treaty with the U.S. In addition, you must invest a substantial amount in your business and your business must have a positive impact on the American economy. Finally, you must make your investment before the visa petition is finalized.
L-1 Visa Versus the B-1 Temporary Investor Visa
While both of these visas are designed for foreign workers who need to travel to the United States to conduct important business, the L-1 visa has several advantages over the B-1 visa. While a B visa can give you the opportunity to set up or do business here, B visas are meant for a temporary stay in the country – an initial six-month time period that may be extended another six months. A B visa also requires you to prove that you have the funds to stay in the U.S. for months at a time, but prevents you from becoming an employee during your visit. While both L-1 visas and B-1 visas are non-immigration visas, the B-1 visa requires that you do not have intentions or interest in moving to America and that you have a home that you are keeping overseas.