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DHS Settlement Expands Employment Authorization Benefits for L-2 and H-4 Spouses

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has agreed to a settlement in the case of Shergill, et al. v. Mayorkas, resulting in important policy changes immediately affecting L-2 and H-4 visa holders’ work authorization for the better.  Prior to this settlement, those spouses of L-1 and H-1B visa holders possessing L-2 and H-4 visa status, respectively, had to wait for U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) to approve an application for employment authorization (EAD) before they could work.  With extensive USCIS backlogs in adjudications, this frequently meant L-2 and H-4 spousal EAD applicants suffering through lengthy periods without work authorization.  

Under the terms of the DHS settlement, those foreign national spouses holding L-2 visa status immediately have the right to work “incident to status”, meaning an application for an EAD is no longer required.  They may begin working upon admission to the U.S. in L-2 status.  H-4 spouses will still need to file an application for work authorization, but those who have previously been granted an Employment Authorization Document qualify for an automatic 6-month extension based upon a timely filed renewal application.

Copyright © 2023 Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 316

About this Author

Jennifer Cory, Womble Carlyle Law Firm, Charlotte North Carolina, Immigration LawAttorney

Jennifer Cory leads Womble Carlyle Immigration Solutions, which provides management of inbound immigration services for domestic and international employers and investors. Jennifer has practiced immigration law since 1995 and is certified as a Specialist in Immigration Law by the North Carolina State Bar.

Jennifer’s work focuses on employment-based immigrant and nonimmigrant petitions, including, but not limited to, preparation of treaty investor/trader visa applications, H-1B temporary worker petitions and L-...

Susan Ramos  North Carolina WBD Immigration Attorney Consular processing Humanitarian Relief  Workplace Compliance Spanish Speaking
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Susan is an immigration lawyer with over fifteen years of experience assisting individuals, families, and employers in connection with assessing available U.S. immigration options.

Her practice includes preparing and filing individual, family-based, and employment-based petitions, immigrant and nonimmigrant visa applications, and waivers of inadmissibility. She assists with complex consular processing issues, complicated citizenship and naturalization issues, petitions for humanitarian relief, and removal defense. She advises employers regarding worksite compliance, conducting...

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Jeffrey B. Widdison Attorney Immigration Womble Bond Dickinson Charlotte

Jeff Widdison is an immigration attorney that represents clients in employment-based permanent residency cases, consular processing, nonimmigrant visa applications, naturalizations, family-based filings, administrative appeals to the AAO and BIA, employer sanctions, petitions for review with U.S. Circuit Courts, mandamus and APA causes of action filings with U.S. District Courts, and has a wealth of experience in representing clients with removal defense. He has been recognized as a Board Certified Immigration Specialist in Immigration Law by the North Carolina State Bar...