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L2 Visa for Dependents

Spouse (legally married husband or wife) and unmarried, minor children (under the age of 21 years) are eligible to accompany the L-1 visa holder on L-2 visa.

As L-2 visa is a dependent visa, the duration of valid stay is the same as that of the L-1 visa holder. That is, up to 7 years in the case of dependents of L1A visa and up to 5 years in the case of dependents of L1B visa. L-2 visa holders are allowed to travel in and out of the U.S. provided their L2 visa status and L2 visa stamp remain valid.

Work Permit – EAD

The major advantage of L-2 dependent visa over H-4 dependent visa is that L-2 visa spouse is allowed to work in the U.S. once Employment Authorization Document (EAD) is filed with the USCIS and is approved. Once you get EAD card, you should go to the Social Security office and apply for a Social Security Number if you already don’t have one. An L-2 visa holder with EAD can do any legal job or business anywhere in the U.S., part-time or full-time, off-line or on-line, or from home or remotely. They can work in high tech, a grocery store, a restaurant, or whichever legal business they want to work in. In other words, an L2 visa EAD allows “open market” employment authorization. An L-2 visa holder spouse can not work in the U.S. before getting the EAD approved.

EAD for L2 spouse is valid up to 2 years at a time. EAD can be renewed as long as the person remains in the valid L-2 status. EAD application can be filed on its own or along with Form I-539, Application to Extend or Change Nonimmigrant Status. In case of concurrent filing, the status extension/change would have to be approved before the EAD can be issued. 

Because the L2 visa allows EAD, L2 visa holder spouses are not forced to forego their careers and can work while in the U.S.

If you intend to work in the U.S. on L2, you should apply for EAD immediately and not wait for some employer to interview you or offer you a job. Additionally, don’t expect that prospective employer to file your EAD. They have nothing do with it, and you have to file it yourself.

Dependent children on L2 visa are NOT eligible to apply for EAD. 

Truly Dependent Visa

USCIS may limit, deny, or revoke on notice any stay for an L-2 dependent that is not primarily intended for the purpose of being with the principal worker in the U.S., and a spouse or child may be required to show that his requested stay is not intended to evade the normal requirements of the nonimmigrant classification that otherwise would apply when the principal alien is absent from the U.S. USCIS, port inspectors, and consular officers may adjudicate applications for dependent stays in order to prevent an L-1 alien form using only occasional work visits to the U.S. in order to “park” the family members in the U.S. for extended periods while the principal alien is normally present.

Normally, L2 visa extension is approved for the same duration that the L1 visa extension is, including the duration recaptured for the time spent outside the U.S. However, in the case of parking family members, an L2 visa extension may be denied, limited, or revoked on notice giving the L-2 the opportunity to provide evidence of the intention primarily to accompany the principal.


L-2 visa holders are permitted to attend school either part-time or full-time. 

Change of Status

L-2 visa holders are allowed to change their non-immigrant status to others, such as B-1, B-2, H-1, H-4 (provided the primary visa holder will be on H1 visa), or even L-1.

In case you decide to change your status to H-1 visa or L visa later, the time you have already spent in the U.S. on L-2 visa will not be counted towards the maximum duration allowed on H-1B visa or L visa. 

If the primary visa holder changes the status from H-1 visa to L-1 visa, the dependents are allowed to change the status from H-4 visa to L-2 visa. 

If you change the status from L-2 to H-4 visa because the primary visa holder changed from L-1 to H-1, the EAD that you received while on L2 is no longer valid, and you can’t continue to work once you are on H-4.

L-2 Visa Extension

If the immediate family members of the L-1 visa holder are already in the U.S., they can seek change of status to or extension of stay in L-2 status by filing Form I-539. 

Green Card

When the L-1 visa holder applies for the green card, L-2 visa holders can also be included in that process and can apply for  adjustment of status  in the U.S. or immigrant visa  outside the U.S. 

As long as you are on a valid L-2 visa status, after applying for adjustment of status, you don’t need to apply for advance parole in order to enter back into the U.S. 

Visa Stamping

It is recommended (but not required) that the spouse and dependent children go for their visa interview at the same time as the principal applicant. 

Ineligible Dependents

Some people who come to the U.S. on L-1 visa would like to bring their parents along with them, possibly on L-2 visa. Reasons given are sometimes like: I am the only son, there is no one to take care of my elderly parents, and it is my duty to do so; my father has passed away, and my widow mother would be left all alone in India; my parents are completely dependent upon me; etc.

However, in the U.S., parents are not considered your dependents at least for L-2 or any other dependent visa purposes. Therefore, your parents may visit you for a short time occasionally on a visitors visa. However, they can not stay for the whole time you will be in the U.S. on L-1 visa. If they make frequent visits and have excessive stays, that is not consistent with the purpose of visitors visa, and they would face trouble entering the U.S. in the future. You will need to decide whether you would like to leave them in your home country and work in the U.S. or continue to do the job in your home country so that you can stay with your parents. However, there is no provision in the U.S. law to make exceptions for you, no matter what your situation is.