After years of outreach to DHS with no action, litigation finally forces USCIS and CBP to update policy for employment authorization of H-4, E and L dependent spouses.

Automatic Extension of Work Authorization

On November 12, 2021, USCIS updated their policy manual to allow for automatic extension of employment authorization for certain H-4, E and L dependent spouses.  As of November 12th the dependent spouse may present an unexpired I-94, a Notice of Action showing a timely-filed employment extension application, and a facially expired employment card as acceptable evidence of work authorization for I-9 purposes.

Employment Authorized Incident to Status

E and L dependent spouses will also be considered employment authorized incident to status.  Thus, E and L dependent spouses will no longer require an application for work authorization (Form I-765) to be eligible to work.

USCIS will work with CBP to update the Form I-94 to reflect this change.

See link to USCIS guidance.

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