Spousal Working Rights

Old Mar 3rd 2021, 7:23 pm
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Default Spousal Working Rights

Hi all

I have recently been offered a job as Program Manager in the US. I will be transitioning from Sydney and have been looking at the immigration process and from what I can see it looks like Ill be on some sort of L1 visa

On one of our internal pages it has this:

"Spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age may be eligible to accompany the L-1 to the US as derivative beneficiaries, and they will be classified as L-2s. Parents, siblings, and other non-immediate relatives are not eligible.

Dependents of applicants of an L-1 visa under Amazon’s Blanket L Petition can apply for an L-2 visa at the same time as the employee applies for an L-1 visa. Dependents should complete the steps to schedule a visa appointment and attend the visa interview with the applicant.

Spouses on the L-2 visa are permitted to study and are eligible to apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) once in the US. Immigration service providers provide L-2 and L-2 EAD support.

If your L-2 spouse wants to apply for work authorization, the immigration service provider will work with them to prepare and file an EAD application. USCIS processing times vary: for example, at the time of this writing, the USCIS was taking 4-to-7 months to approve EAD applications.

Once the USCIS issues the EAD, your spouse may use the EAD to work for any US employer."


Its specifically this line that has me confused - Spouses on the L-2 visa are permitted to study and are eligible to apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) once in the US.

This to me reads like my partner can only apply for working rights when we actually move, and not in advance. Which is a nightmare if true since she cant work after moving to a new country.

Does anybody know how this works? And if theres any way of getting all of this done before we move?

I havent spoken directly to our immigration lawyers yet since theyre still finalizing my offer but this will obviously be a big factor on whether I move so any help would be greatly appreciated

Thanks

Last edited by DeanCal; Mar 3rd 2021 at 7:25 pm. Reason: Bolding text
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Old Mar 3rd 2021, 7:54 pm
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Default Re: Spousal Working Rights

Originally Posted by DeanCal View Post
Hi all

I have recently been offered a job as Program Manager in the US. I will be transitioning from Sydney and have been looking at the immigration process and from what I can see it looks like Ill be on some sort of L1 visa

On one of our internal pages it has this:

"Spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age may be eligible to accompany the L-1 to the US as derivative beneficiaries, and they will be classified as L-2s. Parents, siblings, and other non-immediate relatives are not eligible.

Dependents of applicants of an L-1 visa under Amazon’s Blanket L Petition can apply for an L-2 visa at the same time as the employee applies for an L-1 visa. Dependents should complete the steps to schedule a visa appointment and attend the visa interview with the applicant.

Spouses on the L-2 visa are permitted to study and are eligible to apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) once in the US. Immigration service providers provide L-2 and L-2 EAD support.

If your L-2 spouse wants to apply for work authorization, the immigration service provider will work with them to prepare and file an EAD application. USCIS processing times vary: for example, at the time of this writing, the USCIS was taking 4-to-7 months to approve EAD applications.

Once the USCIS issues the EAD, your spouse may use the EAD to work for any US employer."


Its specifically this line that has me confused - Spouses on the L-2 visa are permitted to study and are eligible to apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) once in the US.

This to me reads like my partner can only apply for working rights when we actually move, and not in advance. Which is a nightmare if true since she cant work after moving to a new country.

Does anybody know how this works? And if theres any way of getting all of this done before we move?

I havent spoken directly to our immigration lawyers yet since theyre still finalizing my offer but this will obviously be a big factor on whether I move so any help would be greatly appreciated

Thanks
I can’t confirm from personal experience as I moved here alone, but the above is how I understand it works. compared to an H1b you are lucky that an L2 can apply for an EAD... some visas don’t allow spouses to work.

The work around is to come here and file for the EAD and then go back home till it’s issued and then both move together. But don’t forget the clock starts on the L1 when it’s issued not when you get here so you could loose 6 months of it, but I believe you can recapture that time at renewal.


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Old Mar 3rd 2021, 8:00 pm
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Default Re: Spousal Working Rights

Originally Posted by tht View Post
I can’t confirm from personal experience as I moved here alone, but the above is how I understand it works. compared to an H1b you are lucky that an L2 can apply for an EAD... some visas don’t allow spouses to work.

The work around is to come here and file for the EAD and then go back home till it’s issued and then both move together. But don’t forget the clock starts on the L1 when it’s issued not when you get here so you could loose 6 months of it, but I believe you can recapture that time at renewal.
Thanks for the reply!

I think the workaround would be fine if COVID wasn't a thing right now. She probably wont be allowed back into the country if she's leaves Australia (unless something changes in the coming months) so heading to America to apply might not be an option for us
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Old Mar 3rd 2021, 8:02 pm
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Default Re: Spousal Working Rights

What you quoted is true. The EAD can't be applied for until the L2 visa holder is inside the USA.

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Old Mar 3rd 2021, 8:04 pm
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Default Re: Spousal Working Rights

My husband transferred on a L1A visa...I had L2. I didn’t apply for an EAD but they sent me it anyway.
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Old Mar 3rd 2021, 8:14 pm
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Default Re: Spousal Working Rights

Originally Posted by DeanCal View Post
Hi all



This to me reads like my partner can only apply for working rights when we actually move, and not in advance. Which is a nightmare if true since she cant work after moving to a new country.



Thanks
Why is it a nightmare? .... the wait for EAD is usually 60 to 90 days? Probably longer now with Covid.. Nothing to guarantee wife would get a job immediately, no matter how quickly the EAD was issued.
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Old Mar 3rd 2021, 8:14 pm
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Default Re: Spousal Working Rights

Also, one thing I forgot to mention - my partner and I have been together for 12 years but are unmarried. Will this make a difference? Do I need to be married or will it be better to be?

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Old Mar 3rd 2021, 8:15 pm
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Default Re: Spousal Working Rights

Originally Posted by DeanCal View Post
Also, one thing I forgot to mention - my partner and I have been together for 12 years but are unmarried. Will this make a difference? Do I need to be married or will it be better to be?
You have to be married.......
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Old Mar 3rd 2021, 8:17 pm
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Default Re: Spousal Working Rights

Originally Posted by SanDiegogirl View Post
Whis is it a nightmare? .... the wait for EAD is usually 60 to 90 days? Probably longer now with Covid.. Nothing to guarantee wife would get a job immediately, no matter how quickly the EAD was issued.
Our internal company info says 4-7 months for EAD approval so that would be a long time for her to go without work. She would be giving up a job she really likes and have to adjust to a new country so ideally she wouldn't just have to sit around for months just waiting for approval to work (worst case scenario obviously)
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Old Mar 3rd 2021, 8:18 pm
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Default Re: Spousal Working Rights

Originally Posted by SanDiegogirl View Post
You have to be married.......
Well.......... *searches for local registry offices*
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Old Mar 3rd 2021, 8:38 pm
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Default Re: Spousal Working Rights

Originally Posted by DeanCal View Post
Our internal company info says 4-7 months for EAD approval so that would be a long time for her to go without work. She would be giving up a job she really likes and have to adjust to a new country so ideally she wouldn't just have to sit around for months just waiting for approval to work (worst case scenario obviously)
The US is not like Australia where they encourage people with skills to move here. Forget common sense and logic... there are family members who are sponsored by people living here who wait years and years to move here... unfortunate a 6+ month wait with USCIS is pretty normal in normal times, add CV19 and it only gets worse.

The solution unfortunately is often for 1 partners to move and the other to come and activate the visa and apply for an EAD before resigning and moving full time... already hard and probably impossible if children are involved. You would still need to be married but your employer could apply for an EB1c Green card instead of a visa (it will take longer) but then you wife could work as soon as you get here.
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Old Mar 3rd 2021, 9:20 pm
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Default Re: Spousal Working Rights

Originally Posted by tht View Post
The US is not like Australia where they encourage people with skills to move here. Forget common sense and logic... there are family members who are sponsored by people living here who wait years and years to move here... unfortunate a 6+ month wait with USCIS is pretty normal in normal times, add CV19 and it only gets worse.

The solution unfortunately is often for 1 partners to move and the other to come and activate the visa and apply for an EAD before resigning and moving full time... already hard and probably impossible if children are involved. You would still need to be married but your employer could apply for an EB1c Green card instead of a visa (it will take longer) but then you wife could work as soon as you get here.
Great! Thanks for the info! Its really helpful

I don't have kids so that's one less thing I have to worry about but hopefully I can get in front of our immigration lawyers soon
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Old Mar 4th 2021, 11:36 am
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Default Re: Spousal Working Rights

(worst case scenario obviously)
Actually I think it's pretty likely to be best case scenario. The longer that USCIS works at less than 100%, the longer wait times will get.
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Old Mar 4th 2021, 3:06 pm
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Default Re: Spousal Working Rights

My wife applied for her EAD in May 2019 and it didn't arrive until Dec 2019. She was out of work the whole time obviously.

Ours was processed at Vermont Service Center, which is currently quoting 5 to 10.5 months processing time.

The processing timelines vary depending on service center but you can view the processing time for I-765s here: https://egov.uscis.gov/processing-times/

IMO processing infrastructure was allowed to collapse by the Trump Administration sometime in early 2019. When I applied for my own EAD in 2017, and renewed in 2018 they only took 40 days and 42 days respectively.

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Old Mar 4th 2021, 3:32 pm
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Default Re: Spousal Working Rights

My wife’s (L-2) EAD was requested 18 May, 2020 and issued 25 September, 2020.

I have to say though that I’m not convinced that the Biden presidency is welcome news for immigration advocates. Sure, Trump was bad, but that doesn’t automatically make Biden good.

Last edited by destone; Mar 4th 2021 at 3:34 pm.
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