USCIS Clarifies Handling of EAD for H-4, E and L-2 Spouses

15. Nov. 2021

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.