Spouse working in the US

(20 Posts)
JammySplodger Thu 28-Feb-13 09:17:50

We have friends who are an English husband and French wife.

He's quite possibly going to be offered a job in the US in a very specialised technical industry, and so would get a Green Card to work there.

They'd move there as a family (2DC) but she's been told she wouldn't be allowed to get a job. She's currently a multi-lingual PA.

Does anyone know if this is correct, or if there's a way she could apply to work too?

OP’s posts: |
NotMoreFootball Thu 28-Feb-13 18:34:10

I'm certainly not an expert but I believe it depends on the type of visa he is offered, if it is a job with a new company then probably it's an H1b visa and the spouse is unable to work. If he's transferring within his existing company than it may be an L1 visa in which case the spouse is entitled to work.
If they go on an H1b visa then I think the company can apply for Green cards for them once they are in the US (not sure on the time-scales for this, could be years), once the Green cards are received the spouse is then able to work.
Hopefully someone with more knowledge can correct me if I'm wrong!

anonymosity Thu 28-Feb-13 19:41:31

You only automatically get a greencard from the go in the USA if you join the Navy or similar. He would be on a VISA and the employers may well sponsor his greencard application - but you have a process to go through before you get it.

Unless the wife also has a VISA to work that's correct - no job. But if HE gets a greencard, she will get one along side him and then be employable anywhere in the US.

SquinkiesRule Fri 01-Mar-13 01:16:40

It depends on his visa, on some visas she can apply for permission to work once she arrives in US, it just takes a little longer than arriving with permission already, but this isn't available on all work visas, some she'd just be the trailing spouse.

NatashaBee Fri 01-Mar-13 02:20:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

kickassangel Fri 01-Mar-13 02:57:40

If he's doing a tech kind of job then he is prob on an H visa so the wife cannot work, either paid or unpaid.

They can't apply for a green card until they are there, and depending on his visa status, area he's in, money and how good they are at doing forms it could take 6 months to 4 years to get green cards.

She really needs to know exactly the kind of visa he will be on then go on the USCIS site to find out more.

She needs to know not just if it's an H or J or B visa but the type. E.g. DH had an H1-B visa, which meant that I was allowed a bank account, a drivers license and I could go to school (dd had the same rules). And That Was It. No voluntary work, no setting up as self employed,, no vocational training or even applying to get UK degree etc transferred across, no applying for teaching license.

She really needs some better advice as I doubt they'll have green cards within 2 years, that would be pretty optimistic.

kickassangel Fri 01-Mar-13 02:59:47

And her being French could complicate things as they have quotas for each country each year.


NotMoreFootball Fri 01-Mar-13 03:38:56

Isn't there a limit to the number of H visas issued overall each year and the limit is reached almost as soon as the new years allocation are released? If they miss this years allocation then it will be late in 2014 before they can move to the US or am I talking nonsense??

Knowsabitabouteducation Fri 01-Mar-13 06:40:36

She will be able to apply for a H1b visa in her own right (although needs to check that her professional field is valid for this type of visa).

She can accompany her husband as an H4 dependent (no working) and apply to change status once she gets there.

The H1b quotas open in April of each year with employment starting in October.

anonymosity Fri 01-Mar-13 17:15:32

No, its the other way around. An L visa does not allow a spouse to work - that is how we arrived and what we discovered not long ago. An H visa you MAY be able to get a "permission to work".

With the L - the only way I could get a permission to work was if a) he died or b) he divorced me!

Thankfully we now have green cards

Wibblypiglikesbananas Fri 01-Mar-13 17:49:44

You can't work as a dependent of someone on an H1B, trust me, that is me! DH got a 3 year H1B when we moved here last year and as Kickassangel mentions, it's pretty limiting for the spouse! Conversely, an L1/2 intracompany transfer visa means that the spouse of the employee can work if they apply for and are granted permission.
I was on maternity leave with DC1 when we moved here and am now PG with DC2 but we won't be staying longer than the three years the visa allows precisely because of how limited I am. It's great at the moment as I'm at home with the DCs and DH earns more than he did in London so that allows me to be a SAHM for the meantime. However, I would not want to do it forever and the lack of recognition gets to me - e.g. I can't have a mobile contract in my name as I don't have a social security number. Similarly, only the most basic bank account etc etc. It's a massive psychological shift when financially you've been used to being an equally contributing partner to a relationship, you own property in the UK etc. but here you're a 'no one'.
I would advise your friends to think very carefully about what it is they want. Additionally, most people here send their kids to private school when they're older and the prices ($22,000/yr) often demand two incomes.

NotMoreFootball Fri 01-Mar-13 18:31:29

Agree with wibblypigs, you can definitely work as the spouse of an L1 visa holder, you will get an L2 visa and then apply for your EAD (employment authorization document) when you arrive in the US, mine took around 3 weeks to come through last year.

NatashaBee Fri 01-Mar-13 18:35:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

JammySplodger Fri 01-Mar-13 19:39:40

I think it's probably the H1B visa or something like that by the sounds of it, but will check. He's planning on heading over this month to check it out, for them to offer the job (if they and he like each other) and get the visa sorted fairly soon.

That sounds incredibly limiting fo her though, and if it were to take years for his/their green cards to come through, that could send her round the bend.

I didn't realise you can't even volunteer in that situation, or do any training, that's nuts!

OP’s posts: |
anonymosity Fri 01-Mar-13 20:26:56

When did you do this NatashaBee - it could be the law has simply changed. I was flatly refused exactly this in early 2009 on the basis I already outlined.

NatashaBee Fri 01-Mar-13 21:33:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

JammySplodger Fri 01-Mar-13 21:49:26

Yes, it'll be an H visa then.

OP’s posts: |
NotMoreFootball Fri 01-Mar-13 23:19:40

Anonymosity - I arrived on an L2 last year, got my SS number 2 weeks later and received my EAD within weeks, definitely check out your situation.

butterfliesinmytummy Sat 02-Mar-13 00:10:25

We are relocating to Texas this summer, dh will have an L1 visa and our US immigration attorneys have told me that I can definitely work as his spouse, so I imagine things have changed.

anonymosity Sat 02-Mar-13 01:12:45

Its ok I have a greencard now - thanks though. I think the law just must have changed as it can do - as we explored it thoroughly and there was no go Jan 2009.

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