USCIS Streamlines Adjudication of Nonimmigrant Dependent Spouses to Secure Work Authorization

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On January 19, 2023, the US Department of Homeland Security reached a settlement in Edakunni v. Mayorkas. The settlement brings in policy changes to the way in which US Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) adjudicates extension of status, change of status, and employment authorization applications filed by spouses and children of L-1 and H-1B non-immigrant visa holders, along with the petition filed on behalf of the principal applicant so long as they are concurrently and properly filed. Specifically, USCIS will adjudicate three key immigration forms: Form I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization, and Form I-129 Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker.

History of Processing

Prior to 2019, USCIS adjudicated Form I-539 and I-765 applications concurrently with an applicant’s I-129 petition as a courtesy when the applications were filed properly at the same time. Eventually, USCIS stopped bundling adjudication, and each application and petition was adjudicated separately. However, this unbundling created processing problems as it required additional biometrics for I-539 and I-765 applicants. This made it difficult for applicants to maintain their employment as the delays caused lapses in work authorization.

When Will the New Policy Take Effect?

USCIS returned to its prior policy of bundling the adjudication of Form I-539 and Form I-765 along with Form I-129 on January 25, 2023. As an employer, you should review your upcoming cases and see if such cases for your employees who are dependent on work authorizations can benefit from the new policy.

For more information on the new USCIS policy, please contact us at

This material is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor does it create a client-lawyer relationship between MNK Law and any recipient. Recipients should consult with counsel before taking any actions based on the information contained within this material.