On November 10, 2021, USCIS entered into a Settlement Agreement pursuant to a lawsuit (Shergill, et al. v. Mayorkas) that had been filed seeking relief for L-2 spouses and EAD eligible H-4 spouses suffering from long EAD adjudication delays. Below is a brief summary of the settlement:
L-2 Nonimmigrants (Spouses of L Nonimmigrants)
By March 10, 2022, USCIS will issue policy guidance stating that L-2 spouses are employment authorized incident to status. Thus, L-2 spouses will no longer need to apply and be approved for work authorization to legally work in the U.S. In the interim, USCIS will automatically extend work authorization for up to 180 days for L-2 spouses who have timely filed L-2/EAD extension applications.
H-4 Nonimmigrants with Employment Authorization Documents (EADs)
Qualifying H-4 dependent spouses who a) properly file an application to renew their H-4 based EAD before it expires; b) have an unexpired Form I-94 showing their status as an H-4 nonimmigrant; and c) will continue to have H-4 status beyond the expiration date of their EAD will now benefit from the EAD Automatic Renewal provisions. USCIS will interpret 8 CFR § 274a.13(d) such that these H-4 nonimmigrants who timely file their I-765 EAD renewal applications and continue to have H-4 status beyond the expiration date of their EAD qualify for the 180 day automatic extension of their (c)(26)-based employment authorization and EADs.