Work Options for an E-2 Visa Spouse?

Here is a typical scenario…Two equally talented spouses are planning to move to the US. The investor spouse wants to invest in a US business and pursue the E-2 Visa. The other spouse wants to pursue their career in the US. Maybe they are a professional or an entrepreneur who wants to explore their own business ideas.

The questions that arise are: 1) How do spouses get permission to work? 2)What are the employment options for the E-2 visa spouse?

Seeking Permission to Work

It is important to know that the E-2 visa spouse must file an application for work authorization and receive an approval before they can work. If they obtained a visa through a consulate or embassy abroad, they would arrive in the US with the investor spouse. Then, they would file the I-765 application for work authorization.

If the investor spouse is filing for a change of status, their spouse could apply for work authorization with the change of status request. Unfortunately, there is no premium processing option for this request. As a result, spouses oftentimes have to wait a substantial period of time—sometimes up to six or eight months before receiving the approval that allows them to work.

Employment Options After Work Authorization Approval

One interesting fact about the E-2 visa is that the spouse has virtually limitless employment options. The investor spouse can only work for the business in which they invested. But the E-2 visa spouse can request work authorization. And after they receive it, they can work wherever they want. They can continue in the same field, switch to a different field or they can start their own business.


I hope this information is helpful. If you have any E-2 related topics that you would like me to cover, please let me know. Also, if you are interested in the E-2 visa please educate yourself as much as possible. Then reach out to one of the many amazing US immigration lawyers that you can find across the globe.

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Benjamin Frear, Esq.

Immigration Lawyer For Entrepreneurs and High Growth Companies

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