The forgotten workers: Why is no one talking about L-2 visa, EAD delays? L-2 holders are suffering as much as H-4 holders

Sneha Amarapuram
Sneha Amarapuram

Dallas resident Sneha Amarapuram is among thousands of L-2 visa holders who lost their jobs due to EAD extension delays.

With countless immigration discussion forums and news stories focusing on delays faced by H-4 EAD holders, a large section of L-2 visa holders facing exactly the same issues feel sidelined. Even though the Biden administration seems to be working toward immigration reforms that may be beneficial to work-based visa holders, a large section of those on dependent visas of these primary visa holders continue to feel neglected.

Currently, the USCIS is taking up to 24 months to process the visas of many H-4 visa holders who have applied for EAD extensions.

L-2 visa holders, mostly the spouses of those who are on L-1 visas in the US, say they are facing the exact same issue and losing jobs every day. While the predicament of H-4 visa holders has been highlighted, the plight of L-2 visa holders has not been, they say.

Dallas, Texas-based Sneha Amarapuram, who worked with IT firm Cisco, had to give up her job last year because her L-2 EAD extension did not come in time. Unemployed for more than four months now, she continues to await her extension and has shared her story with the American Bazaar. “I am non-immigrant from India, who came to the US last year in February 2020,” she said. “I arrived on a L-2 visa as my husband was already working here on a L-1 visa.”

Amarapuram, who graduated with a degree in computer science from Vellore Institute of Technology, one of the premium institutes in India, worked for Cisco in Bangalore as a network engineer prior to arriving in the United States.

Amarapuram said one of the main reasons she decided to leave her job in India and come to the US was that she was coming on L-2 visa and knew that she wouldn’t have to put her career on hold, like H-4 visa holders.

“I knew that I will not need to compromise on my career as L-1 dependents are allowed to work,” she said. “Once in the US, I got a job here with great difficulty after trying for five months. But in September, last year I was hired by Cisco.”

Sneha Amarapuram
Sneha Amarapuram

However, Amarapuram was unlucky as her job was cut short. “My husbands’ L1 visa was given till October 2020 and hence my L-2 visa as well as the EAD was issued until October 2020,” she said. “We have already filed for my L-2 visa and L-2 EAD extensions along with my husbands’ L-1 extension in July 2020, ninety days prior to the expiration. We received approval for my husbands’ L-1 visa extension in September after we opted for premium processing. However, I am still awaiting my L-2 visa and EAD extension which expired on October 12, 2020.”

Since USCIS does not offer premium processing for dependent visas, the applicants have no choice but to wait.

Amarapuram said “There is a bill, HR 8337, which asks for providing premium processing for L2, H4 and EAD and it was signed by the President on October 1, 2020. But it is not implemented by USCIS as yet.”

The IT professional said she had no choice but to give up her job. “It has been more than 4 months since I am out of my job and even though, I have received multiple offers from various employers, I am not able to work as I don’t have a valid EAD,” she said.

In the past seven months, she has tried to contact multiple lawmakers for help. “I tried to reach out to senators, [members of the] House of Representatives but there has been no positive response from USCIS.”

Amarapuram blamed USCIS delays for the job loss. “USCIS does not allow one to file the extension before 6 months of expiration, but their own processing time is more than 10 months,” she said. “This forces any one filing for an extension to lose their job.”

In December, a group of 60 members of Congress urged then-President-elect Joe Biden to extend the validity of work permits of H4 visa holders.

The plea was made in a letter signed, among others, by all four Indian American members of Congress — Ami Bera, Ro Khanna, Raja Krishnamoorthi and Pramila Jayapal.

Amarapuram said the letter failed to mention L-2 visa holders. “It is unfortunate that only H-4 is highlighted in the letter to the President when L2 visa holders are also facing the same issue,” she said.

Many L-2 visa holders like Amarapuram are demanding that the biometrics requirement be removed so that extensions can be processed in time, which would in turn boost the US economy especially at a time like this.

READ MORE:

Houston law firm sues USCIS over delay in H4 extension, H4 EAD (June 10, 2019)

15 Comments

  1. Hi , I am also victim of EAD delays ,it is been almost 6 months now & I fear qthat by the time I would get my EAD , My visa would already be expired & go to extension & then same cycle follows …
    I feel this much incompetent system is surely not a good mark for UCIS

  2. Renny Babu

    I am also on the same boat, EAD expired in Sep 2020, applied for extension in June 2020. Out of job since last 10 months. Does expedite or litigation helps here?

  3. I have the same issue and lost my job. I felt so sad at home everyday. I really hope the government should hire more take care/responsibilities during this frustrating situation. We can pay the fee, but let us work

  4. I am an L2 holder and I am going to lose my EAD privileges in July 2021. I have a question, as I am in a similar situation to all of you, and the lawyer for my wife’s company, although we have repeatedly asked, is unclear. . They say ‘9-12 months’ to renew the L2. 5-10 months to renew the EAD. So that begs the question, is that a total of 22 months at worst case, or can you get the EAD before your L2 extension? When does the clock start on the EAD processing? The lawyer filed April 9th (EAD / L2 / L1 Premium Processing). L1 approved, but we may have to leave the country regardless. We’re trying to figure out if there’s any hope of getting my work permit in a timely manner. I had begged them to file 6 months before expiry but they would not.

  5. Priya Gautam

    Same issue here. Our visa and i94 is valid through Jan 2022, but EAD was restricted through April 2021. Losing my job due to delay. I’m told that the they are taking 8 months to give new EAD. Very unusual.

    • Same is my case. My EAD had an expiry of April 2021. And I had filed my renewal in October 2020 6 months in advance to bridge the gap of 8 months. I received my new card in Feb 2021 with same expiry of April 2021. Now my EAD expired and had appointed lawyer to file case again. Waste of time and money!

  6. Processing time is increasing every 10days. Is there any forum where people are tracking L2 visa updates? Please share a link if there is any. Thanks in advance!

  7. Thank you for highlighting issues . Good write up . Same situation for me . The wait is increasing in months . Premium processing could be only possible way they can clear the backlogs .

  8. This is my plight too. We filed extension in April 2020 and my L2 expired in July 2020. Out of job ever since. Do not understand the cause of the delay but nowhere to turn to ask for explanation. It is very disappointing indeed.

  9. It’s a pandemic and citizens are unemployed. The situation will improve by 2022 though. 2021 will be a rough year for immigrants, since a lot of veterans will join the workforce from their deployment. If one person in the household is employed, you should be thankful.

    No doubt she is talented and experienced, but the timing just sucks.

  10. Thanks for this write , I am in same situation even dates also matches. This brings more frustration and pressure on families , more problem is there is no visibility on when it will get approved the processing time is keep on extending

  11. I am also on same boat of L2 visa and L2 EAD extension delays.

  12. Here an E-2 spouse with the same issue…I’ve lost my job as Marketing Manager at a big technology company because the renewal of my EAD is taking months. How about the premium processing that they approved? When is USCIS implementing it? It’s frustrating and unfair.

  13. Shoba Krishnamurthy

    Thank you for the write up. This is hard, we have immigrants contributing everwhere – but we are currently facing a 100 year back log for Green cards. We have thousands of women of color in h4ead limbo, as their green card petition has been pending for 10 years or more. Why does the government feel that its ok for us to wait for 10 years or more to provide a permanent residency card? Have we not proved ourselves many many times over? This is discriminatory, archaic and regressive. Please bring about immigration reform and end all the unecessesary delay.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.