J-2 Work Authorization
Dependents in J-2 status may apply for authorization to work in the United States. The money earned by a J-2 dependent may be for personal travel, recreational, or cultural activities. If the income is needed to support the J-1 Exchange Visitor, USCIS will not authorize employment.
The processing time for J-2 work authorization applications is 45 - 90 days. To apply for J-2 work authorization, you will need the following:
- Check for $410.00 payable to "U.S. Department of Homeland Security": Personal checks and money orders are acceptable.
- Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization): To ensure that you have the most recent version of this form, download it directly from the USCIS website. Scroll down to the Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization. Then scroll down to download the form. You do not need to download the instructions as a simplified version is provided below.
The J-2 applicant should complete this form. We recommend typing the application using the fillable form to avoid errors on the employment authorization card that you will receive.
- In items 14 and 15, write "J-2 Dependent."
- In item 16, write "c" inside the first set of parentheses and "5" inside the second set. Leave the third set blank.
- Two U.S. passport-style photographs that meet US Department of State requirements: Print your name on the back of each photo. Do not cut photos to size; USCIS will cut them to their specifications.
- J-2 statement: On a separate piece of paper, the J-2 applicant should state that the work permission is not intended to support the J-1 visa holder but is for other purposes (e.g. cultural, recreational, and travel expenses for the J-2 dependent).
- J-2 immigration documents: Photocopies of the J-2's Form(s) DS-2019, I-94 record, J-2 entry visa stamp, and passport identity page(s). [If you are applying for an extension of your current EAD, include a copy of your current EAD (front and back)].
- J-1 immigration documents: Photocopies of the J-1's Form(s) DS-2019, I-94 record, J-1 entry visa stamp, and passport identity page(s).
Once you have compiled the application materials listed above, you are ready to mail them. Make copies of everything prior to mailing the application.
We suggest you mail this application at the post office by "certified mail/return receipt requested" or express mail*.
For U.S. Postal Service deliveries: For Express mail and courier service deliveries:
P.O. Box 660867
Dallas, TX 75266
2501 S. State Hwy. 121, Business
Lewisville, TX 75067
*The address above applies for residents of Massachusetts. If you live outside of Massachusetts, please refer to the I-765 instructions (page 10) to determine where to file your application.
Your work permission must be approved by USCIS before you can begin employment. Once approved, USCIS will send you an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Employment is only authorized for the dates listed on the EAD. Make copies of both sides of the EAD when you receive it, and keep the cardboard slip it is attached to, as you will need it for any extension applications.
You may check the status of your application once you receive a receipt notice from USCIS. If you have a problem with your application, call the National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283 or 1-800-767-1833 (TTY).
Social Security Number and Taxes:
After receiving your EAD, you should apply for a Social Security number. Earnings of J-2 visa holders are taxable. See IRS Publication 519, "United States Tax Guide for Aliens," available from the IRS website.
Extending your J-2 Work Authorization:
If you and the J-1 Exchange Visitor will remain in the United States after the end date of your current EAD and you wish to extend your EAD, your EAD extension must first be approved by USCIS to continue working. The application procedure is the same as for your original permission. Send a copy of your current EAD [include the cardboard slip that your current EAD was attached to when you received it in the mail] along with the other required documents as outlined on the checklist. Another EAD will be issued with new dates. If you do not receive the new EAD before your current EAD expires, you must stop employment until the new EAD is received and the dates on the new EAD card are valid. It is suggested to apply for the EAD renewal 90 days prior to current EAD expiration date to lessen the chances that there will be a gap in employment authorization.
Please note that the J-1's extension of stay must be granted before Form I-765 for extension of work permission for the J-2 is submitted to USCIS. It is therefore important to complete both the extension of stay and the extension of employment authorization procedures several months before the expiration date of the J-1's current Form DS-2019.