The Road to Employment

Leaving my old job in order to move to the US was a big deal for me. I’d been with the company (through many changes) for just over 9 years, ever since graduating from University. When Eddie was offered his transfer, one of my first questions was “Will I be able to work?”. And fortunately, due to the visa type, the answer is yes.

As an L-2 spouse, I am eligible for an EAD (Employment Authorisation Document).  Of course, this isn’t received automatically – forms need to be filled,  evidence of eligibility supplied, all with a fee of $340. It’s taken me longer than originally planned, but last night I finally had everything gathered together in an envelope ready to go. Surprisingly (to me anyway), the most difficult part was getting some passport photos, but I’ve already blogged about that. It is possible to file the form electronically on the USCIS website, but I have heard from other ex-pats that this takes a little longer to be processed for some reason, so I opted for the old-fashioned paper system.

The main form is the I-765, which at first glance seems simple enough. It’s just one page long, so not too daunting. The most perplexing question is #14 – Manner of Last Entry. After some research, I concluded the answer in my case is L-2 spouse. I used the same answer for #15 – Current Immigration Status.

Accompanying the form is an 11 page instruction document. This needs to be read very carefully as you need to know which eligibility category you fall into for question #17. There are a LOT of choices, 4 pages of them in fact.  I found mine on page 4 – ‘Spouse of an L-1 Intracompany Transferee – (a)(18)’. Then page 6 tells you everything else you need to include with the application. In my case, this was:

  • A copy of my I-94 form (the form that I filled out when I arrived in the US and is stapled in my passport), both sides.
  • A government issued ID documents, so I used a copy of the page in my passport showing my picture, name, DOB
  • A visa issued by a foreign consulate – so a copy of my L-2 visa
  • Two identical passport photos, in colour and taken within the last 30 days. These need to be marked on the back with name, and much to my amusement, Alien Receipt Number. I don’t have the latter, so just stuck to the former!

Page 8 of the instructions onwards tells you where to send your form. After carefully reading all the categories, I determined I fell into ‘all other Form I-765s’. As a resident of Minnesota, my form goes to the USCIS lockbox in Phoenix.  As an added bonus, I was able to submit an extra form (G-1145) that allows be to receive electronic notification that my application has been accepted.

DISCLAIMER – this article is based on my own experiences and circumstances, and the application has not yet been approved. If you are looking for more information or help on this subject, please visit the USCIS site – they have all sorts of stuff on there!


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