Written by David S. Rugendorf
Today (March 18, 2022) the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that beginning April 1, 2022, it will mail notices to certain E and L nonimmigrant spouses, specifically those who entered the United States before January 30, 2022 and who are the beneficiaries of an approved Form I-539 extension of status. These notices, along with an unexpired I-94, will serve as evidence of employment authorization. This is important news for these spouses, whose current I-94s do not reflect the new work authorized designation codes (i.e. “E2S”, “E3S”, “L2S”). On January 30, 2022, the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) began to annotate E and L spouse I-94 forms with the new codes, which are suitable evidence of US work authorization for I-94 purposes. Children of E and L nonimmigrants are not authorized to work and do not receive the new designations.
Prior to this announcement E and L spouses whose I-94s did not include the new designations were required to travel outside the United States to obtain updated I-94 forms. This USCIS action should help these spouses avoid this cost and inconvenience.
Per USCIS, these notices will be sent to E and L spouses age 21 or over with unexpired I-94 forms. An E or L spouse under age 21, or one who has not received a notice by April 30, 2022, may request a notice by email to E-L-married-U21@uscis.dhs.gov.
We do not expect notices will be sent to spouses who entered the United States (or received a USCIS extension) after January 30, 2022, because these individuals should already have I-94s with the updated designations. Also, spouses who have been in the United States since before January 30, 2022, and who have not sought an I-539 extension of status should not expect to receive a notice.