h4 ead l2 visa auto extension

News: Automatic L2 EAD and Standalone H4 EAD Auto Extension Explained

In March 2021 American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), Wasden Banias, and other Attorney’s filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to fix the lengthy processing time for H-4 EAD and L-2 EAD.

Now, the lawsuit is settled. According to the Lawsuit, in the future (after USCIS implements):

  • L-2 Visa holders are not required to apply for EAD in order to work.
  • Standalone H4 EAD gets automatic extension for 180 days

Let me focus on the H-4 EAD Auto extension part. Because there’s a ton of confusion.

Scenario 1: H4 EAD Auto Extension (Not Valid)

Case 1: H-1B Applied for extension along with H-4 extension and H4 EAD extension.

H-4 EAD expiry date typically matches the H-1B Visa validity period.

In this case, an H-4 extension is filed along with an H-4 EAD extension. However, as per this new settlement with USCIS from this lawsuit, there is no automatic H-4 EAD extension.

As per the settlement, H-4 EAD gets an automatic extension for 180 days if the H-4 status is active (aka valid I-94).

Example with Dates:

  • H1B expires: Jan 1, 2022
  • H-4 Expires: Jan 1, 2022
  • H-4 EAD Expires: Jan 1, 2022

On Nov 1, 2021, the attorney applied for an H-1B extension, H-4 extension, and H-4 EAD renewal.

As per current processing time at Vermont Service Center:

  • H-1B Extension: 3-5 Months
  • H-4 Extension: 9 to 12 Months
  • H-4 EAD: (9 to 12 Months) for H4 Extension + 6.5 to 9.5 Months for EAD

As per this settlement, H-4 EAD will not be auto extended for 180 days.

Scenario 2: H4 EAD Auto Extension (Valid)

Under the same scenario, one could take advantage of the new settlement by following the way to get H-4 EAD auto-extension.

  • Apply for H-1B in Premium Processing
  • H-4 Spouse travels
  • Get H-4 Visa stamp
  • Enters the USA with new I-94
  • Apply for H-4 EAD before current H-EAD expires

Then H-4 EAD will be auto-extended for 180 days.

Example with Dates:

  • H1B expires: Jan 1, 2022
  • H-4 Expires: Jan 1, 2022
  • H-4 EAD Expires: Jan 1, 2022
  • Get H1B Approved: Nov 15, 2021 (via Premium)
  • Travel and Get Visa Stamp and enter USA: Beofre Dec 25, 2021
  • Apply for H-4 EAD Extension: Before Jan 1, 2022

Getting an H-4 EAD auto extension depends on getting a Visa appointment and travel.

L-2 Incident of Status + Work Authorization

Past: L-2 visa holders are eligible to work in the USA. USCIS required L-2 visa holders to apply for EAD before they were allowed to work.

Now (After Lawsuit): L-2 Visa holders can work without applying for EAD.


Resources will be freed up at USCIS (takes than 12 minutes to process one EAD petition). USCIS officers could now use the additional time to approve pending petitions.


Get Visa Experiences, F1/OPT/H1B News in Your Inbox. 

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *