USCIS Updates Documents Required For E and L Spouses For EAD Extension

The USCIS has updated policy guidance as it pertains to the documentation that they are allowing certain E and L spouses to use as evidence of employment authorization incident to their status.

Why Was Automatic EAD Extension For Certain E and L Spouses Implemented?

Due to mass delays in processing Employment Authorization Documents, or EAD, the USCIS revised guidance which helped to expand its automatic EAD extension rules to apply to L-2 and E-2 dependent spouses, meaning they no longer require an EAD to work. This will significantly help to reduce the amount of dependent nonimmigrants who are ineligible to work due to waiting for their EAD to be processed.

How Does the Automatic EAD Extension Work?

As of November 12, 2021, work authorizations for L-2 and E-2 spouses will be automatically extended if and when:

  • An EAD renewal application is filed before prior EAD expires
  • An unexpired I-94 showing nonimmigrant status is held

The automatic extension will continue until:

  • The earliest of the end date listed on the I-94, or
  • Until the approval/denial of the EAD renewal application, or 
  • 180 days from the expiration date of the prior EAD. 

If you are seeking automatic extension for your EAD, you will need:

E-2 and L-2 dependent spouses are also not required to file for an EAD to show work authorization in the future, and are considered authorized to work incident to their status. This means they are eligible to work in the US by virtue of their immigration status alone.

What USCIS Policy Change Was Made For E and L Spouses For EAD Extensions?

The recent update in the USCIS Policy Manual is in regards to the documentation needed for L-2 and E-2 spouses to prove eligibility. Forms I-94 will now include new Class of Admission (COA) codes. An unexpired Form I-94 that reflects the new COA codes will be acceptable as evidence of employment authorization for spouses that are under List C on Form I-9.

Notices Will Be Sent From USCIS For Unexpired Form I-94 Holders

If you have an unexpired Form I-94 that was issued by the USCIS before January 30, 2022, you’ll receive a notice on or around April 1, 2022 that will serve as your evidence of employment authorization. The USCIS is urging anyone who has not received this notice by April 30, 2022 to email [email protected] to request a notice.

For additional information regarding this policy change, please visit the USCIS website. More information regarding the extension and who it applies to can be found here