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Automatic work authorization for spouses of L, E and H visa holders

The results of a recent settlement from a lawsuit against the United States Department of Homeland Security involving the employment authorization document, or the EAD, will prove helpful for many immigrants. 

First, the spouses of workers under L-2 or E-2 visas will now automatically be eligible to gain employment authorization without needing to file EAD requests. For those who are currently working under an EAD, their authorization to work will be extended 180 days if they filed for renewal before the expiration date. 

Not all H-4 visa holders — those who are dependent family members of employment-based visas — will automatically receive work authorization, and need to fill a few requirements. But as with the above, H-4 visa holders are now able to extend their work authorization by 180 days by filing for renewal within the expiration date. 

One thing to note for those working under the three noted visas above is that, in cases of their renewal request being declined or their immigration status ending. 

Those with an L-2, E-2 or H-4 visa are legally able to work in the United States. But in order for them to do so, they must obtain a separate document commonly called a work permit, also known as the Employment Authorization Card or EAD. 

In most cases, work authorization requests take 8 to 14 weeks to process. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, wait times have taken longer and forced many out of their jobs, which provided the catalyst for this change in policy. 

Though the policy has changed, the system will take time to transition and adjust. Once it does, spouses of E, L and H visa holders will find that it’s easier to work in the U.S.

Law Offices of Gary J. Kim
3731 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 502
Los Angeles, CA 90010
(213) 427-6262