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Update from CBP on L-2 and E Spousal Work Authorization

May 18, 2022 Leave a comment

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) has confirmed to AILA that it proactively went into the electronic I-94 card system to update all L-2 I-94s for L-2 spouses, 22 years of age or older, to add “S” to the status for those who entered prior to 1/31/22. Those entering 1/31/22 or later have had
the “S” added upon entry to the U.S.

It is imperative to note that CBP did not add the “S” to L-2 I-94 cards for foreign nationals ages 18-21 at time of entry, due to uncertainty about whether they were dependent spouses or children. This subset of I-94s cannot be updated through Deferred Inspections Unit either. The “S” will need to be added to applicable I-94s on next entry to the U.S., by presenting evidence of spousal relationship, or through the next filing with USCIS.

As far as E spouses are concerned, CBP was unable to make this adjustment for E spouses as it is not possible to distinguish between an E-1/E-2/E-3 principal and an E-1/E-2/E-3 dependent spouse. To seek the “S,” E spouses will need to follow the instructions above.


USCIS is now issuing I-797 approval notices for L-2 and E spouses that specifically state the
notice may be used to document work authorization and for completion of Form I-9. For more information on this, please click here: https://www.uscis.gov/newsroom/alerts/uscis-updates-guidance-on-employment-authorization-for-e-and-l-nonimmigrant-spouses

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