March 24, 2022

Update to USCIS Policy Guidance for E & L Spousal Work Authorizations Issued

In November 2021, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a policy alert relating to the “Employment Authorization for Certain H-4, E and L Nonimmigration Dependant Spouses”, announcing that certain E and L spouses could hold work authorization based on their nonimmigration status. Following this alert, USCIS has now announced that on April 1st, 2022, they will issue notices to E and L spouses aged 21 and over, and who hold an unexpired form I-94 issued before January 30, 2022. Such notice will be valid to use as evidence of employment authorization.

Further to the USCIS’s alert in November 2021 that they would consider E and L spouses to hold work authorization, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), added a new Class of Admission Codes to differentiate between dependant E and L spouses, and children. Thus, from January 2022, the I-94s are now issued with the following new Class of Admission codes for certain E and L spouses: E-1S, E-2S, E-3S, and L-2S. Furthermore, from April 1, 2022, USCIS will commence issuing a notice to those E and L nonimmigrant status dependant spouses aged 21 and over, who hold an unexpired Form I-94 issued by USCIS before 30th January 2022. The notice will update the Class of Admission codes that previously reflected E-1, E-2, E-3, E-3D, E-3R, or L-2 nonimmigrant status to the Class of Admission codes: E-1S, E-2S, E-3S, and L-2S. This notice, along with the unexpired Form I-94, can be used as proof of employment authorization for employers.

E and L spouses who are under the age of 21, or those that have not received the above-mentioned notice by April 30, 2022, should contact USCIS to request a notice.

It should also be noted that USCIS confirmed they will only be issuing notices to those individuals identified as a qualifying spouse based on a USCIS approved FORM I-539 “Application to extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status”.

For further information on immigration in the US, please contact the Sterling Lexicon immigration team.

Leanne Cottrell

Leanne Cottrell

As Head of Immigration with Sterling Lexicon, Leanne leads a team of specialists who are responsible for ensuring the entire immigration process is smooth and stress-free for clients, assignees and their accompanying family members. She brings over ten years of experience in strategic immigration management, planning and consultation to her role, and has cultivated invaluable knowledge and experience in processing countless global migration applications. As a trusted partner, she consults with clients on everything from policy considerations and cost or efficiency improvements, to the impact of opening offices in new locations. Leanne is a frequent presenter and author on global immigration topics and trends.

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