The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) has updated guidance in its USCIS Policy Manual to address the documentation that E and L nonimmigrant spouses may use as evidence of employment authorization based on their nonimmigrant status.
On November 12, 2021, the USCIS issued a policy announcement to clarify that it 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 January 30, 2022, the USCIS and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“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.
If you are an E or L spouse age 21 or over who has an unexpired Form I-94 that USCIS issued before January 30, 2022, the USCIS should 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, you can email E-L-married-U21@uscis.dhs.gov to request a notice.
The USCIS will only send notices to individuals identified as qualifying spouses based on an approved Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. Individuals who received their Form I-94 upon entry from CBP should visit www.cbp.gov for a copy of their Form I-94.
If you believe you are eligible for work authorization and have questions, contact at email@example.com and speak with a U.S. immigration attorney in Ho Chi Minh City, Manila and Taipei.