J-2 visa holders (dependents of J-1s) are eligible to apply for employment authorization from US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The Employment Authorization Document (EAD) is valid for any kind of employment (full-time or part-time). The information below outlines the conditions and procedures needed in order to submit an application. Please contact an International Student Advisor or an International Scholar Advisor if you have any questions.

Conditions of J-2 Work Authorization

  1. Valid J status for both the J-1 and J-2 dependent, as shown on the I-94 departure records

  2. Income may not be used to support the J-1

  3. Employment may begin only after receiving the EAD (Employment Authorization Document) from USCIS

  4. USCIS generally authorizes J-2 employment for one year or to the expiration date of the J-1 visa holder’s DS-2019. Permission to work ends on the expiration date on the EAD and is valid only as long as the J-1 is maintaining status.

Application Process

Always refer to USCIS for the most up-to-date requirements.

Step 1. Gather Materials to Submit

The following documents are currently listed as requirements:

  • Form G-1145: To receive a text or email receipt notification

  • Form I-765: Type the fillable pdf form online and then print it. This helps with accuracy when the Lockbox scans your application. The code for item #16 is (c)(5). Don’t forget to sign!

  • Two recent color passport photos: Photo Specifications

  • A copy of the J-1 exchange visitor's DS-2019 form and the J-2 dependent’s DS-2019 form

  • A copy of the J-2 dependent’s I-94 AND the J-1 exchange visitor’s I-94 record

  • A copy of the J-2 dependent’s passport identification page and expiration or renewal date, if applicable

  • A copy of the J-2 dependent’s visa page

  • A copy of any previously issued employment authorization document(s)

  • Check or money order made payable to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Look online for the current fee.

  • A letter written by the J-2 dependent to USCIS requesting work permission. You need to demonstrate that the J-1 Exchange Visitor has adequate funds for his or her own support without your employment. You may seek employment to support the family’s recreational and cultural activities and related travel, among other things.

Step 2. Mail documents to USCIS

View this website to determine where to mail the application materials. The mailing address you use depends on the address you put in field #3 of the I-765 form and your mailing method. If using the US Postal Service, request mail tracking or use certified mail with a return receipt.

Keep copies of all documents you send. To check the status of your application, visit the USCIS Case Status Service.

Step 3. Authorization to Work

Allow 2-4 months processing time to receive your EAD. When you begin work, your employer will ask you to complete an I-9 form, which requires you to document your employment authorization. Your EAD is acceptable proof of your identity and your permission to work. To be eligible for payment for your employment, you will need to apply for a social security card. The earnings of J-2 dependents are subject to applicable federal, state, and local taxes.

Step 4. EAD Renewal

If you wish to renew your EAD, you will need to submit a new application (following the procedures above) and allow another 2-4 months processing time. You must have a valid EAD to continue working. When you receive the new EAD, you will need to update the I-9 form with your employer.