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Spouses of Employment-Based Visa Holders May Now Apply for Work Authorization and Social Security Number via Form I-765

October 9, 2017

Spouses of employment-based visa holders who hold H-4, L-2 or E status may now apply for work authorization and a Social Security Number via Form I-765, instead of appearing at a local Social Security Administration office. In order to pursue this streamlined option, spouses must answer a few additional biographical questions on the form. The USCIS expects that applicants should receive their Social Security Card within two weeks after their EAD arrives in the mail.

This new option is especially helpful for H-4, L-2, or E spouse visa holders who are coming to the U.S. for their initial entry in that visa category. In those situations, it is most likely that these visa holders will not have Social Security Cards. H-4, L-2, or E spouse visa holders who have been present in that status for months or years most likely already hold Social Security Cards. This new option will also allow visa holders in these categories to apply for replacement Social Security Cards.

Employment-based nonimmigrants present in E-1/2/3, H-1B, H-1B1, L-1, O, P and TN status, however, may not use this option to apply for Social Security Cards. These visa categories must still appear at a local Social Security Administration office.

Our firm will continue to follow this development closely.


Victoria Gentry is an associate attorney with The Immigration Group, P.C.  practicing exclusively in the areas of work visas and employment-based green cards. She first became interested in immigration law when her stepfather emigrated from El Salvador to the United States. Now she enjoys assisting corporate clients with a variety of immigration needs including international transfers, visa eligibility, and the green card process. She works primarily with professionals in IT, Engineering, Finance, Pharmacy, and Insurance.