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Automatic 180-Day Extensions for H-4, E, and L-2 dependent spouses

On Behalf of | Nov 23, 2021 | Employment Immigration Visas, Family Immigration Visas

An automatic extension for many is now in effect

There is new I-9 verification for dependent spouse EADs (H-4, E, and L) who file to renew their EAD. The dependent spouses all automatically qualify for 180-day extensions or employment authorization related to status if they meet certain conditions:

  • The I-765 was filled out properly prior to the EAD expiration date.
  • The H-4, E, and L spouse’s I-94 is unexpired and shows currently valid nonimmigrant status.

The spouse can present the following as evidence of work authorization:

  • An unexpired I-94 showing valid status for H-4, E, and L-2
  • A facially expired EAD
  • A Form I-797C showing shows their I-765 renewal was filed in a timely fashion

The automatic extension of the EAD remains valid until:

  • The expiration date of their previous valid Form I-94
  • The date that the I-765 renewal application was adjudicated
  • 180 days from the expiration of the last EAD

This is positive news for the dependent spouses and their employers looking to renew their EAD. In recent times, applicants have found it increasingly challenging to secure timely approvals due to processing delays – it could take many months to process the application. This is well beyond the previous promise to process in 90 days made by the current administration and led to the change.

E and L spouses automatically authorized

The USCIS also announced that it would no longer require spouses to apply for an EAD. Once it issues an I-94 document that shows E and L-2 status, nonimmigrant E and L spouses will be automatically authorized to work. This change does not apply to E or L dependent children nor H-4 spouses. The Department of Homeland Security has taken steps to annotate the Form I-94 to reflect these changes.