The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has finally settled a lawsuit that should help H-1B and L-1 visa spouses. For a long period of time, USCIS took up to almost two years to process applications for spouses of these visa holders who were awaiting work authorization. Attorneys have held that the actions of the Trump administration, which seemed to be intended to restrict spouses from working in the United States, were to blame for the long holdup. Many spouses of H-1B and L-1 visa holders might now benefit from a recent litigation settlement with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in Edakunni v. Mayorkas.
The following lawsuit settlement focuses on what plaintiffs wanted in April of 2021 when it was first launched, putting back the concurrent processing approach that even USCIS employees have testified in depositions was more effective for adjudicators. Most notably, dependent spouses will rarely lose their jobs as a result of USCIS delays while employing this system. Prior to the settlement of the lawsuit, numerous spouses of H-1B and L-1 visa holders were unable to continue working or were unpermitted to work due to processing timeframes and the window of time within which petitions may be filed to USCIS.
Many spouses of H-1B and L-1 visa holders found relief in two different judicial settlements. Specifically, L-2 visa spouses won’t need employment authorization paperwork as confirmation of their right to work in the United States after the agency has put the settlement into effect. In addition, if the government fails to process the H-4 spouses’ timely-filed petitions, they will now benefit from an automatic renewal of their permission for 180 days after it expires for those who have legal status and just need to renew their work permit.