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USCIS Issues Further Guidance on Employment Authorization for E and L Spouses

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On 18th March 2022, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) declared that it would update the USCIS Policy Manual to address acceptable evidence of work authorization for E and L nonimmigrant spouses. The updates, given in response to the settlement agreement reached in the class action Shergill v. Mayorkas, also address Forms I-94 given by USCIS prior 31st January 2022.

Employment Authorization for E and L Nonimmigrant Spouses

On 10th November 2021, as a part of the settlement agreement in Shergill v. Mayorkas, USCIS declared that E and L nonimmigrant spouses would have work authorization incident to status. As part of the agreement, USCIS further agreed to create a new I-94 designation for E and L spouses that would serve as proof of work authorization.

On 31st January 2022, USCIS and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) started implementing new Form I-94 designations for E and L spouses. The new designation includes an “S” close to the E or L2 class of admission (COA). An unexpired Form I-94 with the new designation (E-1S, E-2S, E-3S, and L-2S) serves as evidence of work authorization under List C of Form I-9.

Background Details

USCIS announced that it would update the USCIS Policy Manual with the above changes. To address the acceptable documentation that specific E and L nonimmigrant spouses might use to evidence work authorization.

USCIS also declared that on or around 1st April 2022, the organization would start mailing notifications to E or L spouses. With unexpired Form I-94s given by USCIS before the new spousal designations went into effect on 31st January 2022.

[USCIS Encourages Eligible Individuals to File I-485s in EB2 India Category in April 2022]

The notification, along with an unexpired Form I-94 given by USCIS. Showing E-1, E-2, E-3, E-3D, E-3R, or L-2 nonimmigrant status will serve as evidence of employment authorization. USCIS will update its policy manual to add this new document combination. As proof of work authorization for E and L spouses under List C of Form I-9.

USCIS noticed that qualifying E or L spouses who do not get a notification via mail by 30th April 2022, may email USCIS to request the notice.

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