Sophie Alcorn Contributor

Sophie Alcorn is the founder of Alcorn Immigration Law in Silicon Valley and the 2019 Global Law Experts Awards “Law Firm of the Year in California for Entrepreneur Immigration Services.” She connects people to the businesses and opportunities that extend their lives. More posts from this contributor Dear Sophie: What are the visa options for international founders? Dear Sophie: Are there any USCIS updates on automatic work extensions and premium processing?

Here’s another edition of “Dear Sophie,” the advice column that answers immigration-related questions about working at tech companies.

“Your questions are vital to the spread of knowledge that empowers people worldwide to rise above the limits and pursue their dreams,” said Sophie Alcorn, a Silicon Valley immigration attorney. “Whether you’re in people ops, a founder, or looking for a job in Silicon Valley, I’d love to answer your questions in my next column.”

EAD renewal

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Dear Sophie,

I have an L-2 visa as a dependent spouse of my husband’s L-1A.

My EAD (work permit) expires in May – we applied for an extension of my visa and EAD a few months ago. How long does the current process take?

Is there anything I can do so that my employment is not affected?

— Career Oriented

Dear centered,

I have great news for you and other L-1 spouses – and your employers! As long as your visa remains valid, you no longer risk your employment being interrupted due to delays in obtaining your Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

Thanks to a policy change by US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), it is now easier to get work permits for L-2 spouses of L-1 visa holders and a few other categories. As Elon Musk said this week, for anyone who wants to work hard in the US, immigration should be a “no-brainer.”

Increasing processing times

Over the past two years, processing times for EADs have skyrocketed due to pandemic backlogs, funding issues, and paper-based USCIS processing procedures.

Depending on which USCIS service center processed the EAD renewal request (Form I-765), the timing ranged from about 90 days to more than a year. lyIt is interesting note that it can take 7.5 to 14.5 months to process EADs at the California Service Center. At the Texas Service Center, it can take two to 13 months.

Image Credits: Joanna Buniak / Sophie Alcorn (Opens in a new window)

Lawsuit leads to major policy changes

Last September, a group of spouse-dependent visa holders filed a class action lawsuit against the Secretary of Homeland Security, who oversees USCIS. The case was filed on behalf of dependent spouses of H-1B and L-1 visa holders, many of whom were forced to retire when USCIS failed to approve and ship new EADs before the current ones expired due to significant delays in the processing.

The situation was exacerbated by the fact that renewals of EADs cannot be submitted more than six months before the expiry date.


I have been blogging since August 2011. I have had over 10,000 visitors to my blog! My goal is to help people, and I have the knowledge and the passion to do this. I love to travel, dance, and play volleyball. I also enjoy hanging out with my friends and family. I started writing my blogs when I lived in California. I would wake up in the middle of the night and write something while listening to music and looking at the ocean. When I moved to Texas, I found a new place to write. I would sit in my backyard while everyone else was at work, and I could write all day.