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USCIS Updates Guidance on L and E Spouse Employment Authorization

USCIS Updates Guidance on L and E Spouse Employment Authorization

March 21, 2022

On March 18, 2022 the USCIS issued an alert which provides valuable guidance for L and E spouses regarding evidence of their employment authorization pursuant to valid status. 

We previously reported that the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) would develop annotations for the Form I-94 to differentiate between L and E spouses versus children, since those spouses were recognized as eligible to work based on their status following a USCIS policy announcement issued November 12, 2021. As of January 30, 2022, the USCIS and CBP began issuing Forms I-94 with new Class of Admission (COA) codes for L and E spouses: L-2S, E-1S, E-2S and E-3S. An unexpired Form I-94 with one of these codes is acceptable as a List C evidence of employment authorization for Form I-9. 

According to the March 18 announcement, beginning approximately April 1, 2022 the USCIS will mail a notice to all L and E spouses over age 21, who have previously received approval of a form I-539 (extension of status request). This spouse designation notice can be used as evidence of employment authorization along with an unexpired Form I-94 for those individuals who do not possess an I-94 with the spouse designation. If the L and E spouses do not receive a notice by April 30, the USCIS alert provides instructions on how to request a notice.

Affected individuals who arrived in the U.S. prior to January 30, 2022 and who have never filed the I-539 extension of status may require extra steps, such as travel, to obtain evidence of employment authorization if needed.

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