In a policy alert published by USCIS on November 12, 2021, USCIS made two announcements in a promising attempt to alleviate the burdens faced by H-4, E, and L nonimmigrant dependent spouses experiencing severe delays in the issuance of work permits by USCIS. First, USCIS expanded the ability of E, H-4, or L nonimmigrant dependent spouses to qualify for an automatic extension of work authorization for up to 180 days. Second, 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. To learn more about the changes, please click here.
The second change which allowed E and L vias spouses to work in the US without applying for a work permit was originally delayed as CBP needed to update their Form I-94 system. To learn more about the I-94 system, please click here. To learn more about what to do when your I-94 is expiring, please click here. CBP needed to change their system to add annotations to E and L spouses’ Form I-94 to indicate that they are dependents of E and L visa holders. It is this annotation that will authorize these visa spouses to work without a work permit. As of January 31, 2022, CBP has confirmed that the annotation system is live. This means that all E and L visa spouses who enter the country after this date and receive the new annotation, will be allowed to work without a work permit. This new annotation will also apply for E and L visa spouses who change or extend their status while inside the US after this date.
E and L visa spouses who entered the country before the January 31, 2022 date and did not receive the new annotation on their Form I-94 cannot work without a work permit. These individuals will either have to apply for a work permit, leave and re-enter the country to receive the new annotated Form I-94, or apply for an extension of status while inside the country (if their Form I-94 is close to expiring).
The new E and L visa categories on the Form I-94 are listed below. Bolded items are those eligible for this change:
- E-1S – Spouse of E-1
- E-1Y – Child of E-1
- E-2S – Spouse of E-2
- E-2Y – Child of E-2
- E-3S – Spouse of E-3
- E-3Y – Child of E-3
- L-2S – Spouse of L-1A or B
- L-2Y – Child of L-1A or B
FREE E-2 Visa Resources
Click on the buttons below in order to claim your free E-2 Visa Guide, sign up for our free E-2 Visa Webinar, join our Facebook Group, or watch our E-2 Visa videos.
Set up an E-2 Visa Consultation
For a dedicated one-on-one E-2 Visa consultation with one of our lawyers, click on the button below to schedule your consultation.
This website and blog constitutes attorney advertising. Do not consider anything in this website or blog legal advice and nothing in this website constitutes an attorney-client relationship being formed. Set up a one-hour consultation with us before acting on anything you read here. Past results are no guarantee of future results and prior results do not imply or predict future results. Each case is different and must be judged on its own merits.