L2 EAD: Everything You Need to Know

Posted by in Immigrants | Updated on August 24, 2022

Many people move to the U.S. with their spouses on a dependent visa such as an L2 visa. Moving with your spouse to a foreign country can be challenging, especially if you have to build a new life and a new career. Can you even work in the U.S. on an L2 visa? Fortunately, the answer is yes, you can work in the U.S. on an L2 visa if you get an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

Below we take a look at everything you need to know about an L2 EAD and how it can enable you to build a great career in the U.S.

What is L2 EAD?

If you aren’t a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, you need to get special permission and authorization before you will be allowed to work in the U.S. This is also only allowed for certain types of visas. The good news is L2 visa holders can apply for an EAD (Employment Authorization Document) and, if approved, will be allowed to work in the U.S. So essentially an L2 EAD gives L2 visa holders the right to work in the U.S.

L2 EAD Process: How to Apply for L2 Visa EAD

The L2 EAD process is quite straightforward. You need to submit your application form together with the supporting documents and evidence.

L2 EAD Documents Checklist

It is very important that you provide all the information and documents required for your L2 EAD application. If you don’t, your EAD might not get approved. Here are the documents you need to apply for your L2 EAD.

L2 EAD Documents checklist:

  • Filing fee – $410 for the processing of your application
  • Biometric services fee – $85 for your biometric screening appointment
  • Form I-765 – This form is the actual application for the EAD
  • L1 approval notice of the primary visa holder (Form I-797) – Include a copy of the document that approves your spouse’s L1 visa
  • Copy of your passport
  • Copy of your spouse’s I-94 – This document proves your spouse entered the U.S. legally
  • Copy of your I-94 – This document proves your legal entry into the U.S.
  • Two passport style photos of yourself
  • Copy of your Social Security Number (SSN) – Only add this if you already own one
  • Proof of your marriage – Include proof like your wedding certificate and a wedding album with photos containing both you and your spouse.

How to Submit the L2 EAD Application

You can decide whether you want to send the application via an online filing system or by mail. Generally, mailing your application leads to less confusion and a faster result. Make a copy of all the documents you submit in your application. It may save you time if you have to re-apply for some reason or some of the documents gets lost while processing.

L2 EAD Application Mailing Addresses

You need to mail your application to the address allocated to the state you live in. Here is a list detailing the addresses and corresponding states.

L2 spouses from these states need to use the following mailing address:

AL, AR, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MS, NC, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OK, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VT, VA, WV; Puerto Rico; or USVI mail to:

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Attn: I-765
2501 S. State Hwy.
121 Business Suite 400
Lewisville, TX 75067

L2 spouses from these states need to use the following mailing address:

AK, AZ, CA, CO, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, MI, MN, MO, MT, ND, NE, NV, OH, OR, SD, UT, WA, WI, or WY mail to:

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
1820 E. Skyharbor Circle S
Suite 100
Phoenix, AZ 85034

Mail your application to the applicable address and wait for the  USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) to confirm they have received it. They will mail a Form I-797 (a receipt of notice) to the address you’ve listed on your application.

If at any time need help to apply for your L2 visa EAD, you can get expert advice from an immigration attorney. Don’t worry if the attorney fees or even the filing fees seem out of reach for you. You can always apply for a loan even if you are a visa holder.

L2 EAD Processing Time

The processing times for L2 EAD applications vary from one service center to the other. Generally, however, the L2 EAD processing time is between 60-90 days for the USCIS to reach a decision regarding your application. Once your application is approved, they will mail you the EAD card (it looks like a plastic credit card). If it turns out your application is unsuccessful for whatever reason, they will also notify you accordingly.

How Long is L2 EAD Valid for?

An EAD is normally valid for two years. The validity of your L2 EAD is, however, dependent on your L2 visa’s validity. Your visa gives you the right to be in the U.S. and your EAD was granted to you based on a valid visa. So, your L2 EAD is valid for a maximum of two years or until your L2 visa expires (whichever of the two scenarios happens first).

Also, remember the validity of your L2 visa is dependent on the validity of your spouse’s L1 visa. Your L2 visa will expire as soon as your spouse’s L1 visa expires (in turn causing your EAD to expire as well).

L2 EAD Renewal (L2 EAD Extension)

It can happen that your visa extends beyond your EAD’s validity. You must renew your EAD before it expires to avoid illegal employment. Renewing your L2 EAD requires the same process as a new application. Compile a new application following the steps above and submit it to the USCIS.

Remember to apply for your L2 EAD renewal long before your EAD expires to provide for any unforeseen delays in processing time. You can apply for your new L2 EAD about 4 months before your current one expires. This will allow you and the USCIS enough time to produce the new one before your current EAD expires.

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Final Thoughts

You don’t have to take the backseat if you move to the U.S. with your spouse. You can build your own career with the help of an L2 EAD!

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