How do I extend L-2 status?

Posted on March 24, 2010. Filed under: Immigration | Tags: , |

An L-2 non-immigrant visa is a dependent visa category available for the immediate family members, i.e., spouse and unmarried children (under the age of 21) of L-1 visa holders who wish to enter the U.S.

L-2 visa holders can live in the United States for the entire length of time authorized in their spouse’s L-1 visa. L-2 visa holders are responsible to extend L-2 status if their spouse’s L-1 visa has expired, and they intend to continually live in the United States with their spouse. You may travel in and out of the U.S. on L-2 visa as long as you maintain valid status, and the principal L visa holder maintains his or her status. You may attend school in the U.S. while on L-2 status.

Under US immigration law, L-2 visa holders can apply for work authorization upon entering the United States. L-2 spouse of an L-1 visa holder can obtain a general Employment Authorization. The employment authorization must be applied separately by the L-2 spouse. The L-2 child is not permitted to work.

To extend your stay in the United States, you should file Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Non-immigrant Status, with USCIS before your visa expires. If you are unsure of your current departure date, check the date on Form I-94, Arrival-Departure Record, to find out how long you are allowed to stay in the country. USCIS recommend that you apply to extend your stay at least 45 days before your authorized stay expires, but the USCIS Service Center must receive your Form I-539 application by the day your authorized stay expires.

If an employer files a Form I-129 to extend the status of L-1 visa holder, and the L-2 spouse and/or unmarried children under age 21 also want to extend L-2 status, they will need to file a Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Non-immigrant Status. While the dependents of L-1 cannot be included on Form I-129 they can all be included on one Form I-539 to extend L-2 status.

After you have submitted Form I-539 application to extend L-2 status, USCIS will mail you a receipt. This receipt will provide a number assigned to track your Form I-539 application, as well as the projected processing time. An extension of stay is not automatic. USCIS will look at your situation, your status, the reasons you want to extend L-2 status, and will decide whether to grant your Form I-539 application.

If your application is received by USCIS before your status expires, and if you have not violated the terms of your status and meet the basic eligibility requirements, you may continue your previously approved activities in the United States (including previously authorized work) for a maximum period of 240 days, or until a decision is made by USCIS on your application or the reason for your requested extension has been accomplished.

If your Form I-539 application for an extension is approved, you will be issued a replacement I-94 with a new departure date.

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