The Department for Homeland Security has announced that spouses of certain visa holders will have the automatic right to work in the United States.
The policy change applies to dependent spouses of those in the following visa categories:
- L-1 Visas (Intracompany Transfer)
- E-1 Visas (Treaty Trader)
- E-2 Visas (Treaty Investor)
- E-3 Visas (Australian Professionals)
Until now, spouses of these visa holders had to apply for work authorization, which added to the administrative burden, could cause uncertainty, and even gaps in employment. Being granted automatic working rights is a huge benefit to any married couples considering an L-1 Visa application or an E-2 Visa application.Any spouses entering the US will have a special code stamped on their entry paperwork (I-94) designating their right to work. Any existing E and L Visa spouses already in the US would need to leave and re-enter the country to obtain this code. However, DHS also noted that regardless of the notation on the I-94, E and L spouses are authorized to work incident to status, and any valid I-94 is considered valid for work authorization.
If you hold a different visa category, please contact us to discuss your spouse’s right to work in the United States.
What is the L-1 Visa?
The L-1 Visa allows for the intracompany transfer of an employee to the existing or newly established US office of your related company. The newly established element is particularly useful to owners of small-and-medium-sized enterprise (SMEs) seeking to expand their business to the United States. The L-1 Visa is valid for up to five or seven years and holders are permitted to seek permanent residency during their stay in the United States.
What is the E-2 Visa?
What is the E-2 Visa?The E-2 Visa permits an investor from an “E-2 Treaty Country” to move to the United States for the purposes of owning and operating a business there. Benefits of this visa include:Relatively low investment expectations (usually > $100,000)Ability to travel freely to and from the United StatesQuick processing times and no country quotasUnlimited renewals – so long as business continues to operate successfullyNo longer a requirement to have a physical premisesOption to purchase a franchise businessIf you are not from an E-2 Treaty Country, it is possible to become a citizen of a Treaty Country and make yourself eligible for an E-2 Visa. We have helped clients acquire citizenship of both Grenada and Turkey and then go on to obtain an E-2 Visa. Both countries offer relatively fast and cost effective routes to citizenship.