Major Changes to USCIS Handling of EAD for H-4 and L-2 Spouses

10. Nov. 2021

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reached a settlement in which it agreed to two major changes for H-4 and L-2 Employment Authorization Document (EAD) processing. 

First, H-4 EADs will now benefit from automatic extension of employment authorization during the pendency of EAD renewal applications. Specifically, H-4 nonimmigrants who file an application for EAD renewal before their current EAD expires will now enjoy a 180-day grace period to cover any potential gap between the date one’s H-4 EAD expires and the approval of the EAD renewal.  With this change, H-4 employees should no longer need to go on unpaid leave from their job as a result of USCIS delay in processing timely filed EAD renewals. 

Second, USCIS now recognizes that L-2 spouses enjoy automatic work authorization incident to status.  This new position means individuals in L-2 status will no longer have to apply for employment authorization prior to working in the U.S.