Following the settlement of a US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) lawsuit that finally recognizes that dependent L and E spouses are able to work lawfully incident to their status, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) updated its admission system to designate on the I-94 admission records those spouses who are authorized to work without applying for an EAD. L and E spouses should be admitted with an “S” after their status to indicate that they are spouses authorized to work. The new I-94s do not explicitly state “work authorized”, but the “S” designation tells employers for I-9 purposes that they are authorized to work for the validity of their I-94s. When they apply for extensions of their visa status with USCIS, the new I-94s issued as part of the extension approval process also should carry the “S” designation. Those L and E spouses already in the United States without the S designation on their I-94s still need to apply for EADs to work lawfully, or depart/return with valid visas to obtain new I-94s with the work-authorized designation. However, some CBP Deferred Inspection offices have been willing to update the system so that the I-94 contains the “S” designation. Deferred Inspection office contact information can be found here. Once corrected, the updated I-94s can be printed from the CBP webpage here. Those L and E spouses entering the United States should review their I-94s to ensure that they contain the “S” designation. If not, they can contact Deferred Inspection for correction.
Here is a sample I-94 issued on February 2, 2022, showing the L-2S designation.