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Is it possible to renew an EAD with a valid I-94 but an (almost) expired E-1 visa?

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My spouse and I are staying in the US on an E-1 visa. Our visa expires on 9/2017, spouse’s EAD expires on 11/2017 and E-1 status on both I-94s expires on 2/2019. 

Is it possible to file for a renewal EAD based on the new I-94 (valid until 2019), but with an expired visa?

The immigration attorney that handled the case (in our home country - this is an E-1 visa) says that although the I-94 is valid, we must renew the visa before filing for a new EAD. Is this true? Isn't the EAD granted based on the I-94 status, and not the visa? 

Note that according to the I-765 instructions a copy of the principal's visa should be sent with the application.

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