THE ABC'S OF IMMIGRATION - NEW LAW WILL PROVIDE WORK AUTHORIZATION FOR SPOUSES OF E AND L VISA HOLDERS
Within the next few days, President Bush is expected to sign H.R. 2277 and H.R. 2278, two bills Congress passed shortly before recessing last month. These bills would grant work authorization to spouses of E-1 treaty trader and E-2 treaty investor visa holders, and to spouses of L-1 intracompany transfer visa holders. H.R. 2278 also shortens the length of time a person is required to be employed abroad to come to the US under a blanket L petition from one year to six months.
The blanket L petition is used by businesses the frequently transfer foreign employees to the US. Once the INS approves the initial petition, the individual beneficiaries have to show only that they qualify for the position offered, and that they have worked for the business for one year within the past three years. After the new law takes effect, this period will be shortened to six months. The other requirements for a blanket L petition are that
· The US and foreign offices must be engaged in commercial trade or services;
· The employer's US office must have been in business for at least a year;
· The employer must have at least three domestic or foreign branches, subsidiaries, or affiliates; and
· The Employer must show one of the following: a) at least ten L-1 visas were approved in the last year; b) the company had US sales of at least million, or c) the US work force numbers over 1,000 workers.
It is currently unclear how spouses of E and L visa holders will show that they are work authorized. It is possible that the INS will take the position that the authorization is implicit in their status, and require no further documentation than the visa. This is, however, unlikely. What is more likely is that the spouses will be required to make an application for an employment authorization document.
This application is made on Form I-765, and must be accompanied by an application fee of 0. It is filed at the regional Service Center with jurisdiction over the applicant’s residence.