January 18, 2022

Volume XII, Number 18

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USCIS Issues Policy Guidance on Employment Authorization for Certain H-4, E, and L Nonimmigrant Dependent Spouses

On November 12, 2021, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) issued policy guidance to automatically extend employment authorization (“EAD”) for H-4, E, and L nonimmigrant dependent spouses under certain circumstances. Effective immediately, H-4, E, and L dependent spouses now qualify for automatic extension of their existing EAD if they properly filed an application to renew their H-4, E, or L-based EAD before it expires and they have an unexpired Form I-94 showing their status as an H-4, E, or L nonimmigrant. The EAD will automatically be extended to the earlier of the following: The Form I-94 expiration date, the approval or denial of the EAD renewal application, or 180 days from the date of the expiration of the previous EAD. This policy provision is aimed to mitigate gaps in employment authorization due to USCIS backlogs and delays in application adjudication. USCIS has 120 days in which to update the I-94 to reflect the automatic authorization. Until then, H-4, E, and L dependents with work authorization must rely on their current EADs to prove their eligibility to work.

Effective immediately, E and L dependent spouses are employment authorized incident to their status and therefore they are no longer required to request employment authorization by filing Form I-765 upon entering the U.S. in valid status. USCIS will modify the Form I-94 for E and L dependent spouses to notate immediate documentation of their employment authorization upon admission in valid E or L status. H-4 dependents must still file an I-765 upon admission to the U.S.

Copyright © 2022 Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 321
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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-...

704-350-6337
Susan Ramos  North Carolina WBD Immigration Attorney Consular processing Humanitarian Relief  Workplace Compliance Spanish Speaking
Senior Counsel

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
Counsel

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...

704-444-2950
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