The Systems Enforcement Analysis and Review (SEAR) office of the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) confirmed on January 31st, 2022, that it was applying new admission codes to identify the spouses of E and L principals for work authorization documentation. This decision was made in light of the litigation settlement (Settlement) on November 12th, 2021, which recognized that spouses of L-1 intracompany transferees (L-2) and E-1, E-2, and E-3 nonimmigrant visa holders could work “incident to their status” as the principal nonimmigrants’ spouses.

Here is What you need to know

CBP Uses Codes Approved by the Category of Admission (COA) Pertaining to the Settlement

• Spouse of E-1: E-1S

• Child of E1: E-1Y

• Spouse of E-2: E-2S

• Child of E-2: E-2Y

• Spouse of E-3: E-3S

• Child of E-3: E-3Y

• Spouse of L-1A or L-1B: L-2S

• Child of L-1A or L-1B: L-2Y

How Can E or L Nonimmigrant Spouses in the US Get an I-94 with the Code?

SEAR officials confirmed that people who require a Form I-94 with the new code would need to depart and reenter the US to request the new Form I-94. If, for any reason, a paper Form I-94 admission record is issued at the land border, the same codes will be used. CBP recommends that spouses of E and L nonimmigrants carry proof of marriage to principal E or L nonimmigrants when entering the US.

Are Annotations Required on Form I-9 with Regard to Work Authorization?

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) changed a part of the policy manual (PM) related to the Settlement, mentioning that it considers dependent spouses of E-1, E-2, E-3, and L-2 nonimmigrants authorized for employment “incident to status.”

It also dictates that a Form I-94 notated with the nonimmigrant status mentioned below are not sufficient for employment authorization:

• E-1
• E-2
• E-2C
• E-3
• E-3D
• E-3R
• L-2

How Do Employers Complete a Form I-9 for E and L Nonimmigrants?

When an L-1, E-1, E-2, or E-3 nonimmigrants select documents from List A, or B and C for Form I-9 completion, they must provide their passport and their I-94 admission record to offer a List A acceptable combination. Dependent spouses’ eligibility for work authorization is not limited to certain employers as it is required for their associated E or L nonimmigrant principals.

We can expect E and L spouses also to present this combination (Form I-94 with a new code and their passport). This situation changes how employers typically see Employment Authorization Document (EAD) (cards) for work authorization. As a result, this shift reduces the typical delays in processing an EAD for spouses of E and L nonimmigrants.

If you have any questions about how the immigration and nationality laws in the United States may impact you or your family, or if you want to access additional information about United States or Canadian immigration and nationality laws, please feel free to get in touch with the immigration and nationality lawyers at the Nachman Phulwani Zimovcak (NPZ) Law Group. You can send us an email to us at, or you can call us at 201-670-0006 extension 104. In addition, we invite you to find more information on our website at