USCIS to Change Employment Authorization Policies for Eligible H-4 and L-2 Spouses

November 12, 2021

On November 10, 2021, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and its litigation partners reached a settlement agreement with the Department of Homeland Security that will provide relief for some H-4 and L-2 spouses who have experienced long delays in the processing times of their employment authorization applications.

As a result of Shergill, et al. v. Mayorkas (21-cv-1296-RSM), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will automatically extend the employment authorization of eligible H-4 spouses while their employment authorization document (EAD) applications are pending. Additionally, USCIS will provide automatic employment authorization for L-2 spouses.

H-4 Policy Changes:

  • H-4 spouses, who timely file their EAD renewals and have H-4 status after their current EAD expires, will have their employment authorization automatically extended.  These auto-extensions will end when any of the following occurs (whichever is earlier):
    • At the end of the individual’s H-4 status – based on Form I-94; or
    • The EAD renewal application is approved or denied; or
    • 180 days after the current EAD expires.

L-2 Policy Changes:

  • L-2 spouses will be authorized to work by virtue of their L-2 status and will not need to apply for an EAD.
  • As with the automatic extensions for H-4 spouses, L-2 spouses will receive automatic extensions of their EAD renewals if they timely filed their EAD renewals and have L-2 status after their current EAD expires.  Similarly, these auto-extensions will end when any of the following occurs (whichever is earlier):
    • At the end of the individual’s L-2 status; or
    • The EAD renewal application is approved or denied; or
    • 180 days after the current EAD expires.

USCIS has provided additional guidance on these new policy changes – please click here for more information.

If you have any questions about the settlement and how it might impact you, please consult with a LHSCD attorney (Consultation Request Form).  We’re happy to help!

 


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