As of November 12, 2021, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has extended automatic work authorization incident to status to include the spouses of both E Visa and L-1 Visa holders. This means that the qualifying spouse of E Visa and L-1 Visa holders are not required to obtain a work authorization document (EAD) prior to commencing work. They simply need to provide either their I-797 Approval or their valid I-94. They are also able to immediately apply for and obtain a U.S. Social Security Number (SSN).
Some key points in this policy update provide that:
- Certain E, L-1, or H-4 dependant spouses qualify for an automatic extension of their existing employment authorization and EAD.
- The automatic extension of the EAD will continue until the earlier of:
- The end date on Form I-94 showing valid status
- The approval or denial of the EAD renewal application
- 180 days from the date of the expiration of the previous EAD
- The following combination of documents evidence the automatic extension of the previous EAD, and is acceptable to present to employers for Form I-9 purposes:
- Form I-94 indicating the unexpired nonimmigrant status (E, L-1, or H-4)
- Form I-797C for a timely filed EAD renewal under a qualifying category
- The facially expired EAD issued under the same category
- E and L-1 dependent spouses are employment authorized incident to their status, and therefore they are no longer required to request employment authorization but may continue to request an EAD through USCIS Form I-765.
Additional Outside Resources
- USCIS: Policy Update (PDF, November 12, 2021)
- USCIS: Employment Authorization Document (EAD)
- USCIS: I-765, Application for Employment Authorization
- USCIS: Form I-797—Types and Functions
- USCIS: Form I-94
- USCIS: I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification
- Form I-797C, Notice of Action
- SSA: Social Security Numbers for Noncitizens (PDF)
We Can Help!
Don’t know where to start? Contact Richards and Jurusik for help with getting work authorization for your E Visa or L-1 Visa dependent spouse.