USCIS Clarifies Handling of EAD for H-4, E and L-2 Spouses
USCIS has clarified new rules related to H-4, E, and L-2 work authorization. Under the new policy, certain H-4, E, and L-2 dependent spouses will qualify for automatic extension of their employment authorization if they: (1) have timely filed an EAD renewal application; and (2) have an unexpired I-94 showing their H-4, E, or L-2 status. The automatic extension will last until the earliest of the below dates:
- The expiration date of their I-94 record*;
- The date of the approval or denial of their pending EAD application; or
- 180 days from the current EAD expiration date.
Evidence of automatic extension of work authorization for I-9 purposes consists of (1) an unexpired I-94 indicating H-4, E, or L-2 dependent status; (2) a receipt notice (I-797C) showing a timely filed pending request for an EAD extension in classes (a)(17), (a)(18), or (c)(26); and (3) an expired EAD in the same class.
Additionally, USCIS has confirmed that E and L-2 dependents are authorized to work incident to their status, and do not require an EAD card for employment. However, until USCIS implements changes to the I-94 to distinguish E and L-2 spouses from children, an EAD card will be required to show evidence of employment authorization for I-9 purposes.
If you have additional questions, please contact your attorney.
*A pending H-4, E, or L-2 extension application does not extend your I-94 until approved.