Work Permit Victory for H-1B Spouses

The Biden administration last week reached a settlement to provide automatic work authorisation permits to the spouses of temporary workers, including many on H-1B and L-1 visas.

An H-4 visa is issued by USCIS to immediate family members (spouse and children under 21 years old) of the H-1B visa holders. The visa is normally issued to those who have already started the process of seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident status in the US.

A settlement was reached by the Department of Homeland Security in a class-action lawsuit, which was filed by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) on behalf of immigrant spouses earlier this year.

The lawsuit successfully reversed the USCIS policy that prohibited H-4 spouses from benefiting from the automatic extension of their employment authorisation while their stand-alone EAD applications were in process.

“Although this is a giant achievement, the parties’ agreement will further result in a massive change in position for the USCIS, which now recognises that L-2 spouses enjoy automatic work authorisation incident to status, meaning these spouses of executive and managers will no longer have to apply for employment authorisation prior to working in the United States,”  the AILA said.

Over 400,000 foreign nationals were working in the U.S. on an H-1B visa in 2019, with the majority of those from China and India, working in high-skill, high-tech industries.

Looking to work in the U.S. on a temporary basis? Check out our Non-Immigrant Visa page for help with your visa application.

© Margaret W. Wong & Associates 2021. The above text is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice.

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