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USCIS Provides Guidance on Employment Authorization for E and L Spouses

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USCIS has updated the policy manual addressing the documentation that E and L nonimmigrant spouses can use as evidence of employment authorization. On November 12, 2021, USCIS issued a policy alert that expanded employment authorization for dependent spouses who hold an E and L visa. USCIS announced that dependent spouses of those who hold an E or L visa are authorized to work pursuant to their status, and therefore no longer need a separate work permit in addition to their visa. Please click here to learn more. The new system went into effect on January 30. E and L visa spouses who entered the country after January 30 or change status to E and L after January 30 will receive special notification on their I-94. Please click here to learn more about the I-94 categories.

USCIS has provided clarification that they will consider E and L spouses to be employment authorized based on their valid E and L nonimmigrant status. As of Jan. 30, 2022, USCIS and CBP began issuing Forms I-94 with the following new COA codes for certain E and L spouses: E-1S, E-2S, E-3S, and L-2S. An unexpired Form I-94 reflecting one of these new codes is acceptable as evidence of employment authorization for spouses under List C of Form I-9.

If you are an E or L spouse age 21 or over who has an unexpired Form I-94 that USCIS issued before Jan. 30, 2022, USCIS will mail you a notice beginning on or about April 1, 2022. This notice, along with an unexpired Form I-94 reflecting E-1, E-2, E-3, E-3D, E-3R, or L-2 nonimmigrant status, will serve as evidence of employment authorization. If you are an E or L spouse and under 21, or if you have not received your notice by April 30, email E-L-married-U21@uscis.dhs.gov to request a notice.

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