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Work Authorization for E-1 or E-2 or E-3 Spouses

Spouses of E-1 Treaty Traders, E-2 Treaty Investors and E-3 Australians in a Specialty Occupation who hold dependent E-1, E-2 or E-3 status in the United States, may apply for an employment authorization document ("EAD") from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS"). Spouses must be present in the United States to apply.

Where to Apply

USCIS has four Service Centers that have jurisdiction over various parts of the United States. Where to file for an EAD depends on where one resides. The addresses of the four Service Centers and their state jurisdictional limits are as follows:

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Vermont Service Center
Attn: I-765
75 Lower Welden Street
St. Albans, VT 05479-0001

Jurisdiction over: CT, DC, DE, MA, MD, ME, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VT, VA, WV; Puerto Rico; USVI;
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Nebraska Service Center
P.O. Box 87765
Lincoln, NE 68501-7765

Jurisdiction over: AK, CO, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, MI, MN, MO, MT, ND, NE, OH, OR, SD, UT, WA, WI, and WY;
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Texas Service Center
P.O. Box 851041
Mesquite, TX 75185-1041

Jurisdiction over: AL, AR, FL, GA, KY, LA, MS, NC, NM, NV, OK, SC, TN, and TX;
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
California Service Center
P.O. Box 10765
Laguna Niguel, CA 92607-1076

Jurisdiction over: AZ, CA, HI, NV, and Guam.

How to Apply

L-2 applicants must file Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization with the following:

  1. Two passport-style color photographs; Photocopy of both sides of Form I-94 for the E-1, E-2 or E-3 spouse;
  2. Photocopy of Form I-94 card for the principal E-1, E-2 or E-3 visa holder;
  3. Photocopy of Form I-94 card for the L-1 transferee;
  4. Photocopy of the identity page and the page containing the latest E-1, E-2 or E-3 visa from the principal’s passport;
  5. We recommend including proof of marital relationship, ideally a photocopy of marriage certificate. If the marriage certificate is not written in the English language, it must be accompanied by an English language translation. In the absence of marriage certificate, include photocopies of the identify pages from the E-1, E-2 or E-3 spouse’s passport and the page that contains the latest E-1, E-2 or E-3 visa issued by the U.S. consulate. The visa should be annotated "PA ", which will help to establish the spousal relationship;
  6. Photocopy of a government-issued photo-ID, such as a clear and legible copy of a state-issued driver’s license or the identity pages from one’s passport; and
  7. Filing fee (a personal check is acceptable, made payable to "U.S. Department of Homeland Security") in the amount of $340.00

On Form I-765, in Part 16, complete the three bracketed fields by inserting "a" and "18." Leave one of the bracketed fields blank. It does not matter which one, as long as Part 16 indicates "(a)(18)."

We recommend that applications be filed with USCIS via traceable means, such as certified mail with a return receipt requested, U.S. Express Mail, or private overnight delivery service (such as FedEx or UPS).

What the USCIS Will Do

USCIS will issue a Form I-797 Receipt Notice to the person named in Part 1 on the I-765 and will send the Receipt Notice to the address listed in Part 1. When USCIS approves the request for an EAD, it will mail the EAD (it is a plastic card, much like a credit card) to the applicant via first-class U.S. mail. Processing times at the various USCIS Service Centers vary, but most EADs are produced in 60-90 days.

The Validity Period of the EAD

The EAD typically will be valid for the period of time for which the E-1, E-2 or E-3 spouse’s status (as noted on the I-94) is valid, or for the period of time for which the principal E-1, E-2 or E-3’s status is valid, or for two years - whichever is shorter

Renewing an EAD

The procedure for renewing an EAD is the same as the procedure described above. USCIS treats a renewal as a new application which requires a new I-765, new supporting documentation, and new filing fee. We recommend that EAD renewals be filed with USCIS at least three (and preferably four) months before the existing EAD will expire so as to avoid the possibility of a gap in continued work authorization.

Social Security Number

E-1, E-2 and E-3 spouses may apply for a Social Security Number by presenting their EAD and other documents and completing a Form SS-5 in person at the nearest office of the Social Security Administration.

USCIS Website

The USCIS website where more information can be found is located at:
I-765 Application


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