USCIS Settlement Affects Work Authorization Adjudication for Nonimmigrant Spouses

Spouses of H-1B and L-1 visa beneficiaries have been disproportionately affected by the USCIS processing delays for work authorization. This has caused several H-4 and L-2 beneficiaries to lose their jobs, harming not only the foreign national, but U.S. businesses as well.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) filed a class action lawsuit in March 2021 to urge the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to address USCIS policies that caused USCIS to take up to two years to process many work authorization applications for nonimmigrant spouses. The settlement with USCIS will allow L-2 spouses to no longer have to apply for work authorization and need an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) as proof to be able to work in the United States. The settlement also allows for H-4 spouses who have lawful status and are only seeking to renew their employment authorization, will be able to automatically extend their authorization for 180 days after expiration should the agency fail to process their timely-filed applications.

The litigation team plans to continue the March lawsuit hoping to affect broader changes for H-4 beneficiaries. One such change is for USCIS to suspend its biometric policy for H-4 EADs almost immediately. The team argues that the biometric policy is much to blame for the processing delays.

For More Information:

View the AILA press release statement, AILA Doc. No. 21111002, here.

View more articles regarding the settlement here and here.

This blog post does not serve as legal advice and does not establish any client-attorney privilege. Do not take any action based on the information contained in this post without consulting a qualified immigration attorney. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our legal team directly.

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