L-1 Visa for Spouses

E2 Visas and L1 Visas: Spouses Granted Automatic Right to Work

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:

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.

Read More About L-1 Visas 

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.


Click Here to see if your country has an E-2 Treaty with the United States.


E-2 Visa: Worried about your Children “Ageing Out”?

Are you worried about your children “ageing out” of a family E-2 visa? Are you worried about leaving behind extended family members? We can help you solve this issue with some careful planning.

By Verdie Atienza & Sukanya Raman

If you are planning to move to America but are concerned about your child age and your extended family members to be a part of your application, we have a solution for you.

We see that a lot of Indian nationals are enthusiastic to move to America for obvious reasons like business opportunities, better standards of living, healthcare, education, etc. Though, take a step back as in most visa categories are limited to spouse and children below the age of 21 including the E-2 Treaty Investor visa.

The spouse and children may apply for E-2 derivative visas. The spouse may apply for Employer Authorization Document (EAD) to work for any US employer and the children are permitted to study.  

There are ways to structure the E-2 enterprise to address the issues of ageing-out for children and qualifying other family members. As once the children turn 21 they will cease to qualify as dependents under the E-2 Visa.

We can structure the E-2 enterprise in such a fashion that it qualifies children over the age of 21, dependent parents, unmarried siblings.

To qualify for the E-2 Treaty Investor visa, the requirement is to own at least 50% of the E-2 company to show operational control. For this reason, the E-2 company may qualify two Treaty Investors having 50-50 ownership. The child who may age-out can make an investment to acquire at least 50% of the E-2 enterprise to qualify himself as a Treaty Investor.

If the goal is to bring members of the extended family like parents or siblings, they can be made 50% owners of the E-2 company, and they may also obtain derivative visas for their spouse and dependent children as well.

In cases where there are multiple family members, two or more E-2 enterprises can be set up. With relatively low investment requirements, it should not be too difficult for foreign entrepreneurs to raise capital.

Another advantage of the E-2 option is that the E-2 enterprise may file a petition for E-2 employees who must be the same nationality as the treaty investor. The prospective employees must either be engaged in duties of an executive or supervisory character or if employed in a lesser capacity, have special qualifications.

Children over 21, parents, siblings, and other extended family members may potentially qualify for E-2 Employee Visas provided they have the same nationality, and they meet the requirements for employees under the treaty.

India is not a Treaty country, but with attractive Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programs offered by countries that have E-2 treaties with the US like Grenada, Turkey and Montenegro, the path to the E-2 visa are clear. Compared to the investment the amount for EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program and the wait time to get a green card is much longer than the E-2 Visa.

The processing time for E-2 visa is much quicker ranging from six to eight months from the date of application. Meaning, your children can start school in American from the next academic year onwards. E-2 visa is not like other non-immigrant visas. E-2 visa can be renewed indefinitely, which gives you stability and permanency. There are no country limit or quota limit under the E-2 Visa.

To conclude, below are the most well-known advantages of the E-2 visa:

1.           Quick Processing Times

2.           No Quota Limitations

3.           Relatively Less Capital Investment Needed

4.           Funds to be Invested may come from various sources

5.           Control of Investment Funds and the Treaty Enterprise

6.           You may opt for a franchise

7.           Dependents are entitled to E-2 derivative visas

8.           Flexibility with Travel

9.           Potential Tax Advantages

10.         Relatively Low Legal Costs     

This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients.