Work Permission for J-2 Dependents

This page is designed for the J-2 dependents of J-1 Exchange Visitors. It lists the conditions of J-2 work authorization, and tells you how to apply.


  1. You must hold valid J-2 status, and the Exchange Visitor must hold valid J-1 status, as shown on the Exchange Visitor's Form DS-2019 and your I-94 Departure Record cards.
  2. Your income may not be used to support your J-1 spouse or parent.
  3. You may work when you receive your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS). The EAD is an identification card laminated in plastic, with your photograph, fingerprint, and the expiration date of your permission to work.
  4. You may work part-time or full-time, at any job, for any employer (except that you may not practice medicine, even if you have a license). There is no legal limit to the amount that you may earn.
  5. INS can authorize J-2 employment for as long as the J-1 Exchange Visitor has permission to stay OR for four years, whichever is shorter. Permission to stay expires on the date shown on the I-94 card. If the I-94 card shows "Duration of Status" or "D/S," permission to stay expires on the date shown on Form DS-2019.


You will need to apply by mail to the BCIS Vermont Service Center. It takes as long as twelve weeks or longer for the EAD card to be processed and mailed back to you. You may not begin work until you receive the EAD card.

The following items will need to accompany your application to the BCIS Vermont Service Center and are indicated on the check list which will be given to you by the Office of International Student and Scholar Services:

  1. Form I-765
  2. 2 photographs (see specific instructions on check list).
  3. A photocopy of the ID pages from your passport (if you are Canadian you may use another form of photo-bearing identification).
  4. A photocopy (both sides) of Your I-94 Departure Record card.
  5. A photocopy of the J-1 Exchange Visitor's Passport and I-94 Departure Record card (both sides).
  6. Proof of your marriage (photocopy of marriage license or certificate).
  7. A photocopy of the J-1 Exchange Visitor's Form DS-2019 and a photocopy of your DS-2019.
  8. A check for $120, payable to Immigration and Naturalization Service.
  9. A photocopy (both sides) of your previous EAD if any.
  10. A letter (see the sample) from you, the J-2 dependent, to the INS requesting work permission. The point of the letter is not to demonstrate need; it is to show the reasons for which you are requesting work permission. It may be some worthwhile interest or activity that might include family travel or recreational, educational, or cultural activities. In your letter you must say specifically that income from your earnings will not be used for the J-1 Exchange Visitor's support.


Form I-9, "Employment Eligibility Verification." When you begin work, your employer will ask you to complete Form I-9, which requires you to document your work authorization. For Form I-9, your EAD card is acceptable proof both of your identity and your permission to work.

If your permission to stay expires, so will your EAD. Your spouse's (or parent's) J-1 Responsible Officer will explain how to extend permission to stay for the J-1 and all J-2 dependents, and will know whether you may apply for a new EAD with the application for extension, or after it has been approved. A pending application for extension of stay, or for a new EAD, does not authorize you to continue working. When you have the new EAD, you will have to update Form I-9 with your employer.

A Social Security Number. To put you on the payroll, your employer will need your Social Security number, which you can obtain by applying for a Social Security card. Take your passport (if you are Canadian you may use another form of photo-bearing identification), I-94 Departure Record card, copy of the J-1's Form DS-2019, and your EAD (once you receive it), to the office of the Social Security Administration, located in the Federal Building on Henry Street in downtown Binghamton.


The earnings of J-2 dependents are subject to applicable federal, state and local taxes, and Social Security, and employers are required by law to withhold those taxes from paychecks. By April 15 you must file an income tax return, Form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ, with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), covering the prior calendar year. The return determines whether you owe more taxes, or have a refund coming. With Form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ you must also file a "Required Statement" also known as Form 8843. See IRS Publication 519, "U.S. Tax Guide For Aliens."


[Your street address]
[Your city, state, and zip code]

Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services
Vermont Service Center
75 Lower Welden Street
St. Albans, Vermont 05479-0001


To Whom It May Concern:

I would like to apply for work permission as the J-2 spouse of a J-1 student/scholar/faculty member.

The reason why working is necessary to my income is because (you may want to mention reasons relating to cultural, educational, or recreational activities, or travel plans). 

I understand that my earnings must be used to support these activities of mine and will not be used to support my J-1 spouse.


[Your signature]

[Your name]

Last Updated: 8/28/14