USCIS Updates Guidance on Employment Authorization for Certain E and L Nonimmigrant Spouses
On March 18, 2022, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it would update the USCIS Policy Manual to address acceptable evidence of work authorization for E and L nonimmigrant spouses. The updates, provided in response to the settlement agreement reached in the class action Shergill v. Mayorkas, also address Forms I-94 issued by USCIS prior to January 31, 2022.
On November 10, 2021, as part of the settlement agreement in Shergill v. Mayorkas, USCIS announced that E and L nonimmigrant spouses would have work authorization incident to status. As part of the agreement, USCIS further agreed to create a new I-94 designation for E and L spouses that would serve as evidence of work authorization.
On January 31, 2022, USCIS and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) began implementing new Form I-94 designations for E and L spouses. The new designation includes an “S” next to the E or L2 class of admission (COA). An unexpired Form I-94 with the new designation (E-1S, E-2S, E-3S, and L-2S) serves as evidence of work authorization under List C of Form I-9.
USCIS announced that it would update the USCIS Policy Manual with the above changes to address the acceptable documentation that certain E and L nonimmigrant spouses may use to evidence work authorization.
USCIS also announced that on or around April 1, 2022, the agency would begin mailing notices to E or L spouses with unexpired Form I-94s issued by USCIS before the new spousal designations went into effect on January 31, 2022. The notice, along with an unexpired Form I-94 issued by USCIS showing E-1, E-2, E-3, E-3D, E-3R, or L-2 nonimmigrant status will serve as evidence of employment authorization. USCIS will update its policy manual to add this new document combination as evidence of employment authorization for E and L spouses under List C of Form I-9.
USCIS noted that qualifying E or L spouses who do not receive a notice by mail by April 30, 2022, may email USCIS to request the notice.