Immediate dependent family members of non-immigrant work visa holders are entitled to derivative non-immigrant dependant status for the period in which the original work visa was approved. Dependants, by visa standards, include a spouse-by-marriage and children of the work visa holder. At this time, common-law partners, regardless of the length of the relationship, are not recognized as dependants by visa standards.
The Non-Immigrant Dependant Categories include:
- L1B or L1A
- H1, H2 or H3
- C1 or C2
- O1 or O2
- P1, P2 or P3
Generally, derivative non-immigrant dependant status does not allow its holder to work but does allow for enrollment into primary and secondary educational institutions. However, on January 16, 2002, President George W. Bush signed into law two bills (H.R. 2277 and H.R. 2278) allowing spouses of intra-company transferees, treaty traders, and treaty investors to work in the US. It is anticipated that, once the regulations governing the use and application of these laws are released, that dependants of L1 and E visa holders will be allowed to apply for “open” Employment Authorizations which will allow for dependants to work without being subject to the regular requirements of the various work visa categories. While no further information has been released on this topic, it is anticipated that regulations governing the operation of these laws will be released by Spring/Summer 2002.