May 04 2021

USCIS Is Expected to Suspend Biometrics Collection for Some H-4, L-2 and E Spousal Employment Authorization Applicants

United States

At a glance

  • USCIS is expected to announce soon that it will not require biometrics from certain applicants for H-4, L-2, and E spousal employment authorization documents (EADs), starting May 17, 2021 and lasting through May 23, 2022.  
  • Until an official announcement is made, applicants for H-4 and L-2 EADs should plan to attend any scheduled USCIS biometrics appointment.

A closer look

USCIS is soon expected to suspend the in-person biometrics requirement for H-4, L-2, and E spousal nonimmigrants seeking employment authorization documents (EADs). USCIS revealed its plans in a filing with a federal court hearing a lawsuit challenging lengthy processing delays affecting these categories of EAD applicants. The case is Edakunni, et al. v. Mayorkas.

It is anticipated that USCIS’s narrow suspension of the biometrics requirement will apply to H-4, L-2, and E spousal EAD applications if they are pending on May 17, 2021 and have not yet received a biometric service appointment notice in connection with the filing, or if they are filed on or after May 17, 2021, through May 23, 2022. Precise details and instructions regarding the suspension have not yet been fully disclosed. 

What this means for employers and foreign nationals

The suspension is intended to alleviate some of the lengthy processing backlogs facing H-4 and L-2 EAD applicants, which currently stretch for several months or more.

However, until USCIS officially announces the suspension, applicants who receive a biometrics appointment notice or have a scheduled appointment should plan to attend their appointment on time. Failure to attend a biometrics appointment can result in the EAD application being deemed abandoned.

Fragomen is closely monitoring USCIS for details on the appointment suspension. We will send follow-up alerts as developments occur.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen.