US Citizenship and Immigration Services issued a Policy Alert confirming that the agency has changed the USCIS Policy Manual to reflect changes required under the settlement in Shergill, et al. v. Mayorkas relating to the automatic extension of employment authorization for certain nonimmigrant dependent spouses.
See our prior bulletin, here.
See the USCIS Policy Alert, here.
Importantly, and while not specifically addressed in the settlement, USCIS has determined that in addition to qualifying H-4 and L-2 dependent spouses, spouses of E (-1, -2, and -3) visa holders will also benefit from expanded work authorization benefits under the new guidance.
The new USCIS policy:
- Provides that certain H-4, E, or L dependent spouses qualify for an automatic extension of their existing employment authorization and accompanying EAD if they properly file an application to re-new their EAD before it expires AND they have an unexpired Form I-94.
- Provides that the automatic extension of the EAD will terminate on the earlier of the Form I-94 expiration, 180 days from the EAD expiration, or the denial of the renewal application.
- Provides that E and L dependent spouses are employment authorized incident to status and will no longer require an EAD card as evidence of work authorization.
- Provides updated guidance on completing Form I-9 verifications for H-4, E, and L dependent spouses.
As previously noted, the settlement directs US Citizenship and Immigration Services and US Customs and Border Protection to amend its policy guidance and procedures within 120 days (March 10, 2022). While the USCIS policy update is effective immediately, the updated I-94 records necessary to evidence L and E employment authorization incident to status will be available after US Customs and Border Protection amends its procedures to reflect the new required “spouse” annotation. Additional guidance from the agencies and liaison groups will be forthcoming.
Please contact your Dentons Immigration lawyer if you have any questions regarding the above information.