Can Spouses of E-3 Visa Holders Receive Work Authorization to Work in the U.S.?

E-3 spouses who are issued E-3 dependent status were required to enter the US and apply for work authorization by filing FORM I-765, Application for Employment Authorization with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

However, according to recent USCIS guidance,

E3 Spouses no longer need to apply for work authorization after entering the US. E-3 spouses are authorized to work upon entry to the US when they receive a valid I-94 as an E-3 dependent (E-3D).

On Nov. 12, 2021, USCIS issued a policy announcement to clarify that it will consider E and L spouses to be employment authorized based on their valid E or L nonimmigrant status. This means that no extra steps need to be taken to file FORM I-765 and obtain work authorization.

As of Jan. 30, 2022, USCIS and CBP began issuing Forms I-94 with the following new COA codes for certain E and L spouses: E-1S, E-2S, E-3S, and L-2S. An unexpired Form I-94 reflecting one of these new codes is acceptable as evidence of employment authorization for spouses under List C of Form I-9.

Notwithstanding this change, E spouses may continue to apply for an EAD to obtain evidence of identity and employment authorization by properly filing Form I-765, with the appropriate fee, if applicable.

Source: USCIS Policy Manual

Note: If your unexpired Form I-94 does not have one of the above codes, you will need to contact USCIS or CBP to obtain a correction before you can start work. Contact information and additional details can be found at this link:


It’s important to note that the E-3 spouse’s employment authorization is valid for the same period of time as the E-3 visa for the principal applicant. It will expire when the E-3 visa holder’s status expires.

Have additional questions about work authorization as an E-3 spouse, or questions about the E-3 visa? Contact us to consult with an immigration attorney about your particular matter.

Remember that each case is different. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.


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