Can my employee’s spouse work?

The work related visas are codified at the Immigration and Nationality Act as amended and the 8 CFR. Each one of these categories of work visas have their own rules and regulations and they define the right that the alien worker and the alien’s immediate family have once they immigrate to the United States.


The form I-765 is the form used by the USCIS to process a work permit. The form has instructions that indicate which category of aliens can file for a work permit authorization and the grounds for eligibility.


Work Related Visas are divided in immigrant and non-immigrant working visas.

Immigrant working visas lead to Permanent Resident Status and the immediate family of the principal alien is considered a derivative beneficiary and the Permanent Resident Status is conferred to the derivative as a matter of law, and therefore, as a Green Card Holder the immediate relative ( spouse) have the right to work in the United States. Most non-immigrant work related visas don’t extend the right to work to spouses of the principal worker.

Depending of the type and classification of the working visa it is the right of the alien’s spouse to work or not in the United States.


The BCIS website publishes a list of the current forms used by the service to process different types of application including permission to work in the United States. The form I-765 has instructions to help the alien to complete the form and to determine if the person is or not eligible to file for an employment authorization. In order to determine if the spouse of your employee is eligible, you must determine the type of working visa your employee has been granted which normally is identified in the approval of the worker’s petition and his/her work permit and then look in the BCIS I-765 Form Instructions to determine if that classification extends the right to work in the United States to spouses of the principal worker/beneficiary.