USCIS Updates Guidance on Employment Authorization for E and L Nonimmigrant Spouses

Release Date 

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is updating guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual to address the documentation that certain E and L nonimmigrant spouses may use as evidence of employment authorization based on their nonimmigrant status.

On Nov. 12, 2021, USCIS issued a policy announcement to clarify that USCIS will consider E and L spouses to be employment authorized based on their valid E or L nonimmigrant status. Since the November 2021 announcement, the Department of Homeland Security added new Class of Admission (COA) codes to distinguish between E and L spouses and children.

As of Jan. 30, 2022, USCIS and CBP began issuing Forms I-94 with the following new COA codes for certain E and L spouses: E-1S, E-2S, E-3S, and L-2S. An unexpired Form I-94 reflecting one of these new codes is acceptable as evidence of employment authorization for spouses under List C of Form I-9.

If you are an E or L spouse age 21 or over who has an unexpired Form I-94 that USCIS issued before Jan. 30, 2022, USCIS will mail you a notice beginning on or about April 1, 2022. This notice, along with an unexpired Form I-94 reflecting E-1, E-2, E-3, E-3D, E-3R, or L-2 nonimmigrant status, will serve as evidence of employment authorization. If you are an E or L spouse and under 21, or if you have not received your notice by April 30, email E-L-married-U21@uscis.dhs.gov to request a notice.

USCIS will only send notices to individuals identified as qualifying spouses based on a Form I-539 approved by USCIS. Individuals who received their Form I-94 from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) should visit www.cbp.gov.

Visit the Policy Manual for Comment page to comment on this update.

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