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New USCIS Policy Guidance Expands Automatic Extension to Spousal Employment Authorization

November 19, 2021

In a policy change that will help prevent gaps in employment authorization and ease certain documentation requirements for employers, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) automatically extended employment authorization for up to 180 days for E, L-2 and H-4 spouses who have timely filed an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) extension application and have an unexpired I-94. For Form I-9 verification, employers may accept: I-94 with unexpired E, L-2 or H-4 status, receipt notice for a timely filed EAD renewal application with an EAD category of (a)(17), (a)(18) or (c)(26) listed, and an expired EAD card in the same category.

USCIS also confirmed that E and L-2 spouses will receive work authorization incidental to their status without needing an EAD. Dependent spouses must have an annotated I-94 indicating their dependent status. The Department of Homeland Security is currently updating its system to include annotations on future I-94s. Annotated I-94s may be used as List C documents to complete Form I-9s.

Please contact your Varnum immigration attorney for more information or if you have any questions about the new policy guidance.

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