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Court ruling gives 180-day extension for H-4 holders

On Behalf of | Nov 19, 2021 | Visas |

Hundreds of thousands of L-2 and H-4 visa holders have been struggling with their immigration status in the United States. Visa holders have had gaps in their work history and job losses because of government delays in application approvals. However, an immigration class action lawsuit could positively immigrants in Illinois and beyond.

The lawsuit

The court’s ruling helps H-4 visa holders who didn’t have access to the proper permits. There are questions about the new changes favoring L-2. The H-4 EAD, L-2 class-action lawsuit includes about 15 people dealing with long delays in employment authorization processing times. A Seattle court oversaw the class-action lawsuit. The plaintiffs’ first argument was that L-2 visa holders don’t need EAD to work under the U.S. statute. Their second argument was that DHS was withholding the automatic extension of H-4EAD on purpose.

There were immigration law changes from the court after the Department of Homeland Security and plaintiffs’ settlement. The settlement entails:

• L-2 visa holders no longer need to apply for L-2 EAD
• Up to a 180-day automatic extension for current L-2-EAD holders
• Automatic 180-day renewal of H4 EAD applications for valid H-4 status

Questions about the court ruling

One question about the ruling was why the L-2 holders don’t need any work permits, but H-4 EAD holders still do. The reason is that the official statute has no mandate for L-2 visa holders to apply for EAD. The DHS misunderstood the immigration provision the whole time. Now, USCIS will allow L-2 spouses to work with their valid L-2 status. L-2 visa holders will work with CBP to change their I-94 form within 120 days. The L-2 spouses can vouch for the I-9 verification.

The H-4 visa holders apply for I-140 applications to be eligible for H4-EAD for up to 180 days. The new rule allows the H4 holders to have an automatic extension for up to 180 days. There are conditions for this rule to take effect. The applicants need a valid H-4 status, or else the government denies the automatic renewal.

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