President Bush Signs New Law Granting Work Authorization for Spouses of L-1 and E Workers

January 2002 - Earlier this week, President Bush signed into law two bills which will permit the spouses of intracompany transferees (holders of L visas) and treaty investors and traders (having E visas) to work in the United States.

This long awaited action is good news. The law provides that the Attorney general "shall authorize the alien spouse to engage in employment" in the US, and shall "provide the spouse with an 'employment authorized' endorsement or other appropriate work permit."

We expect that the Immigration Service will issue guidelines on how to obtain the work authorization. We will offer periodic updates as we learn more. The new program will not go into effect without INS first promulgating new regulations to implement the law. Typically, INS takes a long time to issue regulations.

Until INS implements necessary procedures and grants work authorization, the spouses of L-1 and E workers should not work in the U.S. The INS must first issue work authorization before employment is authorized. There may be serious immigration consequences for working in the U.S. without authorization.


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