Immigration Newswire

Changes in Work Authorization for L-2, E, and H-4 Dependents

Posted by Emilie (Ronald) Gough | Aug 04, 2022 | 0 Comments

On November 12, 2021 USCIS released a policy alert  impacting work authorization for certain dependents of nonimmigrant status holders. The policy change partially resulted from a court settlement in a class action lawsuit Shergill v. Mayorkas. In that case, plaintiffs challenged the requirements for L-2 and E dependent spouses to obtain an EAD card as proof of work authorization and the lack of automatic EAD extension  for L-2 and E dependent spouses.  With rapidly increasing processing times – and the inability to apply for an extension more than six months before expiration – many were forced to stop working and wait for EAD approval. 

After the November 12 policy alert, you can expect to see the following changes:

E, H-4, L-2 dependent spouses will be eligible for automatic EAD extensions. To benefit from an automatic extension, renewal applications must be filed prior to EAD and I-94 expiration and must be filed in the same category as the expiring EAD card. The automatic extension will run until the earlier of the following: end date on Form I-94 showing valid status, the approval or denial of the EAD renewal application, or 180 days from the date of expiration of the previous EAD.

E and L-2 dependent spouses will no longer be required to file Form I-765 and obtain an EAD card.  Rather, dependent spouses in these categories will be considered to have work authorization incident to their status. Dependent spouses may still file a Form I-765 if the wish to receive an EAD card.

    • Effective January 31, 2022, USCIS has begun issuing new admission codes the I-94s of E and L-2 dependents upon entry. An I-94 with a dependent spouse admission code will serve as proof of work authorization for employment purposes.  The new codes are issued as followed:
      • L-2S (Spouse of L-1)
      • L-2Y (Child of L-1)
      • E-1S (Spouse of E-1)
      • E-1Y (Child of E-1)
      • E-2S (Spouse of E-2)
      • E-2Y (Child of E-2)
      • E-3S (Spouse of E-3)
      • E-3Y (Child of E-3)
    • If you entered the US before January 31, 2022, then your online I-94 should now have been updated to reflect the new codes above. Please check your I-94 online at: You should print the new I-94 and save it for your records.  
    • If you were in the US before January 31, 2022 and received an approved change or extension of status through USCIS during that time, then you should have received a new I-94 by mail before April 30, 2022. 

The Law Offices of James D. Eiss will continue to monitor any changes. Please contact us if you have any questions about work authorization for E, L-2, and H-4 dependent spouses. 

About the Author

Emilie (Ronald) Gough

Emilie E. Ronald is an Associate Attorney. She first joined the Law Offices of James D. Eiss in 2018 as a Law Clerk during her second year of law school. She was admitted as an attorney in the state of New York in January 2020. Emilie primarily focuses on TNs, L-1s, E-1s, E-2s, O-1s, and R-1s. Sh...


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