Immigration Law Alert – 11/11/21

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Settlement for Nonimmigrant H-4 and L-2 Spouses and Their Work Authorization Applications


Dear Tocci & Lee friends, colleagues, and clients:

On November 10, 2021 the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) entered into a settlement, which provides important process and structural changes for nonimmigrant H-4 and L-2 spouses and their work authorization applications. Please see below the two important updates: 

  • H-4 spouses who have an expired H-4 EAD and a timely filed I-765 EAD renewal application will be able to avail of an automatic 180 day extension of their work authorization. The auto extension will apply for a period of 180 days beyond the previous EAD expiration date, or until the I-765 application is approved or denied (whichever comes first), provided that the applicant maintains their H-4 status beyond the expiration date of their EAD.

  • L-2 spouses may now benefit from automatic work authorization incident to status. This essentially means that spouses of L-1 visa holders will no longer be obligated to apply for employment authorization prior to working in the United States, provided they maintain valid L-2 status.

Please note, these changes are due to be implemented within the next 120 days (date TBD).

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