What is the L2 Visa?

L2 Visa and Dependents

What is the L2 Visa and who is it applicable for?

The L2 visa is a non-immigrant visa for the United States that is issued to the dependent family members of the L1 visa holders. The eligible family members include the husband or wife of the L1 visa holders and their children who are under the age of 21.

The rules of an L2 dependent visa do not include the eligibility of the parents or grandparents for the dependent visa even if they are directly dependent on the L1 visa holders. If they wish to visit their children or grandchildren in the US, they need to get a visitor visa. 

The validity of the L2 visa is the same as that of the L1 visa holders. It expires as soon as the L1 visa expires. In the case of the dependent visa of L1A visa holders, the validity is up to 7 years, and in the case of the dependent visa of L1B visa holders with the validity of the visa being up to 5 years. 

The L1 visa is the non-immigrant visa document issued by the USCIS to individuals who want to visit the US with the purpose of working for a short duration.

The applicants are eligible for an L1 visa if they have worked in a parent company, subsidiary, or any other legitimate branch of a US-based company outside the United States for one or more years or if the individual is a business owner and wants to visit the US with a purpose of related work.

L2 Visa Dependents

How much processing time does it take to get approval on the L2 visa?

The processing time for the L2 visa takes about 15 days to one month depending on the case. It is best advised that the visa is applied at the same time as that of the L1 visa which makes the process much easier when it comes to proving the dependency of the applicant on the L1 visa holder. 

Various documents you will need when applying for the L2 visa:

  1. The confirmation page of the completed DS 160 form has the barcode on it.
  2. Your passport 
  3. The photograph meets the requirements of the guidelines provided by the US Embassy. Please click here to get more details on photo requirements. 
  4. Your original Certificate of Marriage along with the marriage photos of both of you.
  5. The birth certificate of your children if you are applying for an L2 visa for them.
  6. Written approval of the primary L1 visa holder (spouse or parent)
  7. The employment verification letter of the Primary L1 visa holder and the payslips. 
  8. Documents that support your educational qualifications. (this should be according to what you have entered in the DS 160 form).
  9. L1 spouse’s I 797 form. 
  10. If the primary L1 visa holder is already in the US, you will need the I 194 and some copies of payslips.
  11. The copy of the L1 visa holder’s petition approval notice as issued by the USCIS.
  12. Visa application fee and visa issuance fee.

Different stages of the L2 visa processing:

  • Completion of the DS 160 form which is the non-immigrant visa application form. You can access this form by clicking here. You need to complete this form and submit it online through the USCIS website only. To know more about how to fill this form and what precautions you must take when filling out this form, you can go through this article.

    Now, once you have completed this form, you will receive a confirmation page with a barcode on it. Make sure to keep a copy of this confirmation page for future use. 
  • Payment of the application fee: The fee payment of your L2 application has to be completed along with the completion of the DS 160 form. The total processing fee for completing the entire process is around $160-$190 USD inclusive of some additional costs like travel cost, agency or attorney fee, etc.
  • Scheduling Visa appointments: In this stage, you will need to book two appointments:
    • One will be for biometrics;
    • The other one for the Visa interview. 

Please make sure to book your appointment in advance to avoid any kind of last-minute delays.  You should also remember that your biometrics appointment should be at least a day or two ahead of the visa interview because your biometrics should already be in their records when you go for the visa interview.

  • L2 Visa Interview and visa stamping: This is the final stage of the process before the stamping and approval of the L2 visa. You need to arrive at the Embassy on time.

    Make sure to cooperate with the Visa Officers and answer all the questions asked by them with utmost truthfulness and honesty.

    Be prepared to answer some personal questions along with the general inquiry because the purpose of these questions is to verify your relationship with the primary L1 visa holder. 

    If your visa is approved you will be informed about it then and thereby the Visa Officer and you will get back your passport along with the stamped visa via courier within 10 business days.
Receiving L2 Status

L2 visa rejection:

While in most of the cases the L2 dependent visa gets approved if you have submitted all the necessary documents, there may be very few instances where your visa status may show as” pending for administrative processing” in situations where the Visa Officer was not convinced enough with your answers for several reasons. In those situations, you may be asked to present additional evidence or supporting documents within a certain time period. Please provide all the documents diligently as asked for. 

L2 visa renewal or extension:

Your L2 visa extension will depend on the validity of your parent or spouse’s L1 visa. You can request an extension of your visa to stay in the United States until the time the primary L1 visa is valid. 

To apply for an L2 nonimmigrant visa extension you need to file I 539 (Application to change/ extend nonimmigrant status) which is available on the USCIS website.

Remember to file your I 539 at least 45 days prior to the expiry of your visa. 

Now, that we have covered the various steps and documentation needed during the L2 visa application process, and what to do to renew your L2,  let’s get an overview of the different benefits the L2 visa holders enjoy.

Privileges that the L2 visa application holders are entitled to in the United States:

  1. The L2 visa bearers can work part-time and full time or remotely in any legit business, company, or even self-employment. To work anywhere in the States they need to apply for an EAD (Employment Authorization Document) or work permit by filling the I 765 form issued by the USCIS.  The initial validity of the L2 EAD is 2 years which can be extended further depending on the validity of the visa. 

    It may take a few months to get authorization to work in the US. Make sure to apply for an EAD as soon as you arrive in the US even before you get an actual job offer. Also, apply for a social security number (SSN).
  2. The visa holders can legally live in the US as long as their visa is valid with the provision of extending the visa depending on the primary L1 visa. 
  3. The children who are on L2 can attend school in the US on a full-time basis. 
  4. Apply for permanent residentship or Green Card. 
  5. Change to another non-immigrant visa status like L1, B1 or B2, F1 or H1b visa.
  6. The L2 visa bearers can go on short trips overseas and return back to the US. 

Benefits of L2 visa on studying:

The visa bearers have the privilege of studying in any educational institution in the United States on a full-time or part-time basis. They can also simultaneously work if they have obtained an EAD or a work permit. However, the children who are on the L2 visa may not be permitted to work in the US. This is unless they have obtained a special work permit under the strict laws of the US. 

L2 Visa for Green Card

L2 visa and its relevance to Green Card: 

If the L2 visa holder wants to apply for a Green Card, they may do so by being included in the same Green Card application as that of the primary L1 visa holder. However, it may take many months or even years of processing time for their petition to be approved. 

On the contrary, if you are on an L1-A visa, you will come under the green card immigrant visa category EB1C and obtain a green card quite easily.

Finally, to conclude, obtaining an L2 visa, as simple as it may sound, there are still few important things that you need to keep in mind for smooth processing of the visa without any hassle.

Few tips that may help you while applying for the L2 visa are filing the application along with your spouse or parent’s L1 visa, make sure to have sufficient marriage photographs in the album to submit to authorities, the photographs should clearly show your faces, make sure to clearly indicate your first, middle and last name. Finally provide all the information genuinely and honestly.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

Who all are eligible for the L2 visa? 

Your husband or wife (spouse) and your children are eligible to apply for the L2 visa.

Under what circumstances can my L2 visa be rejected?

Your L2 visa can be rejected temporarily when the Visa Officers need additional information from you to be convinced about your relationship with your primary L1 visa bearer. Make sure to provide them with all the additional documents they ask for on time to avoid any further delay. 

How many applicants can file an I 539 form for visa extension or renewal?

Multiple applicants can be added to the I 539 form. You can include your spouse as well as your children under the age of 21 in the same form for the request for visa renewal only if all of you are in the same status.

How long can L2 visa holders work in the United States?

The L2 visa holders can work in the US for as long as their visa is valid. They need to obtain a work permit or an EAD in order to get a job in the US.

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