Visa Extensions Granted for L-2 and H-4 Holders
By: Annika Minton
Spouses of L-1 and H-1B visa holders recently got some good news. A US court decision is granting L-2 and H-4 visa holders an extension of their work authorization, lengthening the amount of time spouses can remain in the United States on work visas.
L-2 visa holders will receive a 180-day auto extension of their work authorization (or an I-94 expiration date, whichever is shorter); and all H-4 visa holders will get extensions of their H-4 employment authorization document (EAD) until the expiration of their I-94s, or 180 days from the expiration of the prior EAD, whichever comes first. L-2 visa holders will get the extension automatically without applying for it, but H-4 visa holders are still required to apply for the extension after their employment permit expires.
Over the last few years, the processing time for H-4 visa extensions has been increasingly backlogged. But thanks to the Shergill et al. v. Mayorkas lawsuit, those who have been waiting for employment authorization documents to be issued can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s policy alert outlines the long-awaited changes being made for dependent spouses to be authorized to work incident to their valid immigration status.
This decision is especially important for Indian American women, as a large portion of H-1B visa holders are Indian IT professionals, which makes sense of why over 90% of H-4 applicants are Indian women.
Although immigration support groups are concerned this policy update still may not simplify the process for immigrants’ work authorization, for the world of business immigration, an uptick in visa applications may be expected next year.
Be sure to follow Park’s LinkedIn page for future updates.