U.S. CBP Introduces New I-94 Admission Codes to Spouses of L-1 and E Nonimmigrants

On January 31, 2022, U.S. Customs and Border Enforcement (CBP) confirmed that it has created new admission classifications on I-94 admission records for spouses of L-1 and E nonimmigrants. The new admission codes confirm the ability of these dependent spouses to lawfully work in the United States incident to their status (in other words, without first having to file an application for a work authorization document). These new admission codes are now being issued at U.S. ports of entry and allow eligible dependent L and E spouses to immediately work in the United States through their I-94 expiration dates. This is a welcome development, given ongoing delays with Employment Authorization Document (EAD card) issuance.

The new admissions codes are as follows:

Category of Work Authorization – Incident to Status
E-1S = Spouse of E-1 Non-immigrant
E-2S = Spouse of E-2 Non-immigrant
E-3S = Spouse of E-3 Non-immigrant
L-2S = Spouse of L-1A or L-1B Non-immigrant

Please note that there are additional new I-94 admission codes being issued to children of L-1 and E nonimmigrant visa holders. These additional codes that are being extended to children include the E-1Y, E-2Y, E-3Y, and L-2Y admission codes, but do not serve as authorization to work incident to status.

These new admission codes were developed as new USCIS policy guidance resulting from a legal settlement that was reached on November 12, 2021 in the case Shergill, et al. v. Mayorkas. USCIS has confirmed that it will accept the E-1S, E-2S, E-3S, and L-2S I-94 admission codes as acceptable Form I-9 “List C Documents,” which establish an individual’s employment authorization in the United States. The new “S” I-94 Admission Record should be combined with a “List B Document,” which establishes an employee’s identity.

Spouses of L-1 and E nonimmigrants who have entered or will enter the United States starting January 31, 2022 should check their online I-94 records on the CBP website (www.cbp.gov) to confirm that they were correctly granted the new admission code with an “S” included.

Spouses of L-1 and E nonimmigrants who already have Employment Authorization Document (EAD) cards may continue to use their valid cards to lawfully work in the United States. Dependent spouses of L-1 and E nonimmigrants who are currently awaiting issuance of EAD cards are able to secure the new “S” admission codes confirming lawful work authorization incident to status when returning to the United States from international travel. USCIS should also be including these new “S” admission codes on I-94 admission records that are granted along with I-797 Approval Notices for spouses of L-1 and E nonimmigrants.

McCown & Evans will continue to monitor the new policies and will provide additional updates as information is released.