J-2 Work Authorization

All J-2 visa holders are eligible (subject to any existing labor regulations) to apply for a work permit in the U.S. The J-2 visa holder does not need a job offer in order to apply for an Employment Authorization Document [EAD]. The J-2 holder must apply for an EAD through USCIS. If permission is granted, the J-2 person may work anywhere in the U.S., for any number of hours, in any occupation, and at any wage/salary rate. Employers must deduct Social Security tax from his/her earnings. The information below is to be used as a guide. You may be asked for additional information after you submit your application. If you need additional information, please visit the USCIS website.

Processing Times

The USCIS may require up to 90 days to receive an Employment Authorization Document. You may not working without a valid EAD card.

Application Process

Step 1: Write a letter addressed to the USCIS Office. It must include the following information.

  • Statement that you are a J-2 dependent of of a J-1 student or scholar [include J-1's full name] and that you wish to apply for employment permission.
  • The source, amount, and duration of the J-1's financial support.
  • The reason you wish to be employed [for example: to cover travel expenses, medical bills, or children's expenses].
  • A statement that any income earned would be used only for yourself and/or your children and not used for the support of the J-1 student/scholar.

Step 2: Completing the I-765 Form.

  • Complete Form I-765 "Application for Employment Authorization", helpful information to help you complete this form:
    • Lines 12 and 14 refer to your most recent entry to the U.S. This information is available on your I-94 card.
    • Line 15 should be the same as Line 14, unless your status has changed since your arrival.
    • Line 16, please list: [c][5][ ]
  • Include the following items with your application:
    • Completed and signed I-765
    • Letter from applicant
    • Photocopy of both sides of your Form I-94 [small white card] and J-1's Form I-94.
    • Photocopy front side of the J-1/J-2's SEVIS DS-2019s
    • Photocopy of marriage certificate
    • Two photographs taken to USCIS specifications
    • A check of money order for $410.00, made payable to Department of Homeland Security.
    • A photocopy of the front and back of your present EAD card, if you are applying for an extension.

Step 3: Make a photocopy of the complete application for your own records.

Step 4: Mail the application and all supporting documents to:

If You Live In:Mail Your Application To:
Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa,
Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada,
North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin,
Wyoming, Guam, or the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands.
USCIS Phoenix Lockbox
For U.S. Postal Service Deliveries

USCIS
Attn: AOS
1820 Skyharbor Circie South
Suite 100
Phoenix, AZ 85034

Step 5: If the USCIS approves your request, they will issue you an Emplyoment Authorization Document [EAD] showing the valid dates of employment.

Social Security Number

After receiving your EAD, you will need to apply for a Social Security Number in order to work. Please click here for more information about Social Security.

Extension of Stay and Extension of Work Authorization

The USCIS can authorize J-2 employment until the end date on your Form DS-2019. You should request an extension of your EAD 90-120 days before it expires, as you will not be able to legally work if your EAD card has expired, even if you have filed an extension.

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