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New changes for spouses of H, E, L visa holders

On Behalf of | Dec 9, 2021 | Firm News, immigration |

Rule changes to immigration law in Los Angeles, California, make understanding the law more complex. On Nov. 12, 2021, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service announced policy changes regarding automatic extensions of employment authorization. The policy change affects the benefits of H-4, L and E non-immigrant dependent spouses.

Policy changes

The immigration policy changes come after the Department of Homeland Security’s settlement in a recent trial. The trial against the DHS was about L-2 and H-4 spouses challenging the constant processing delays of their work authorization applications. The USCIS’ changes to employment immigration specifically affect E-1, E-2, E-3, L-2 and H-4 spouses.

Details of policy change

Spouses of specific work visas can receive an automatic 180-day extension under particular circumstances. They include the following:

  • They file their application form for renewal in the same class before the deadline.
  • They have a valid I, E or H-4 status and an unexpired form.
  • The validity period is on the form.
  • The correct form works with the previous EAD.
  • The 180 days starts from the previous EAD date.

For certain L and E spouse benefits, there are limitations. The EAD auto extension can’t surpass the spouse’s L or E status. The extension can be short or unavailable since the EAD expires with it. An immigrant can request an automatic extension as soon as possible to get the most out of the automatic extension.

Hiring or re-verifying immigrant employees

There is a combination of forms spouses can use to prove that their automatic extension has expired. A notice of action form that requests the previous class would work as long as the request was before the expiration date. An unexpired departure or arrival form would be sufficient, too.

The policy changes affect spouses of particular work visas. Over the next four months, the USICS and Customs and Border Protection will start issuing the I-94 forms to request a 180-day automatic extension. It will be as acceptable as an I-9 form for work authorization but only for L-2, E-1, E-2 and E-3 visa holder spouses.