If your spouse is working in the United States under an L-1 visa, by applying for an L-2 visa, you can join him. An L-2 visa allows you to live and work in the United States at the same time as your spouse. Simply request an Employment Authorization Document from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services as proof of your work authorization. You can also use your EAD to get a Social Security number.
L-2 Visas for Families
When an employee of a foreign country is granted an L-1 visa, it authorizes him to travel to the United States to work at his employer's office in this country or to establish a U.S. office once he arrives. Since L-1 visa holders can remain in the United States for up to seven years, a separate visa category exists for their families. The L-2 visa makes it possible for family members to live in the United States with the L-1 visa holder. You are eligible for an L-2 visa if you are an L-1 visa holder's spouse or unmarried child under the age of 21. You can apply for an L-2 visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country -- and if you're already in the United States under a different visa, you can request to change your visa status to L-2.
Request Employment Authorization Document from USCIS
The spouse of an L-1 visa holder can work in the United States, but must first receive work authorization by completing and submitting Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Once approved, USCIS will send you Form I-766, Employment Authorization Document. The EAD serves as proof of your authorization to work in the United States without restriction while living here with a family member who has an L-1 visa.
Submit EAD to Social Security Administration
To apply for a Social Security number and card, complete form SS-5, Application for a Social Security card, which is available online at the U.S. Social Security Administration website. After completing this form, you can either mail it to SSA or turn it in at your local Social Security office. You must also provide proof of your identity, age and immigration status with original or certified copies of certain documents, such as birth certificates and foreign passports, to prove your age and identity. Your Employment Authorization Document proves both your immigration status and your authorization to work in the United States.
Social Security Card Arrives within Two Weeks
SSA will mail your new Social Security card within seven to 14 days after you submit your application. Your new Social Security number enables you to engage in a variety of activities in the United States, including opening a bank account and establishing utility services.
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services: L-1A Intracompany Transferee Executive or Manager
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services: L-1B Intracompany Transferee Specialized Knowledge
- U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs: Temporary Worker Visas
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services: Instructions for I-765, Application for Employment Authorization
- U.S. Social Security Administration: Program Operations Manual System, RM 10211.420 - Employment Authorization for Non-immigrants
- U.S. Social Security Administration: Social Security Numbers for Noncitizens
- U.S. Social Security Administration: Application for a Social Security Card
- U.S. Department of Homeland Security: Employment Authorization Documents (Form I-766)
- University of Southern California: Credit History and SSN
- NBC News: When Are Social Security Numbers Required?
- Photo Credit Ingram Publishing/Ingram Publishing/Getty Images
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