J-2 dependents may be eligible for work authorization in the United States if the employment is not required to support the expenses of the J-1 Exchange Visitor. This work authorization requires the J-2 dependent to apply directly to USCIS for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
To be eligible for J-2 Employment Authorization, you must
- Be in valid J-2 status
- Be seeking employment that is NOT required to support the J-1 spouse or parent
How to Apply
You will need to submit your application to USCIS by mail. Include the following documents with your application:
- G-1145 e-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance. Use this form to request a text and/or email when USCIS accepts your I-765 form.
- I-765 Form –You must include all 7 pages with your application. This document must be typed.
- Check box 1.a. for Initial permission to accept employment. If you have previously had an EAD under J-2 status, check box 1.c. for Renewal of my permission to accept employment.
- On page 3, question 27, enter the correct employment code (c)(5)( )
- Two Passport Photos – Taken within the last 30 days. Write your name and I-94 number on the back of the photos lightly in pencil or ball point pen.
- Application Fee of $410:
- Check/Money Order made payable to: U.S. Department of Homeland Security
- U.S. Credit Card: You must complete Form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transaction to pay your application fee with a credit card. Please note: some students have had applications rejected because their credit card company declined the charge. ISSS recommends using a money order if possible.
- Written Statement, with supporting evidence (bank statements or other financial documents) showing that your employment is not necessary to support the J-1 but is for other purposes
- Document Photocopies – Do not send any originals of these supporting documents:
- J-1 and J-2 dependent electronic I-94 record or photocopy of paper I-94 card (both sides)
- J-1 and J-2 Visas
- J-1 and J-2 Passport ID pages – Passport must be valid at least 6 months into the future
- All J-1 and J-2 DS-2019s
- Marriage certificate or birth certificate showing relationship between J-2 and J-1
- Previously issued EAD Card(s) (Front and Back), if applicable
Use Priority Mail/Express Mail to Send Your OPT Application to USCIS:
- The address to which your OPT application is mailed to is determined by the address you provide on item 5a (page 2, Your U.S. Mailing Address) of the I-765 Form.
- Click here for the address where you should mail your application.
Employment after receiving your EAD card
When you are approved for J-2 work authorization, you will receive an EAD card from USCIS. The current processing time for an EAD application is approximately 3-5 months. The EAD card will show the dates that you are eligible to work. You may work part time or full time for any employer during the dates on the card. You may not begin work until you have received the EAD card and are within the dates on the card.
J-2 dependents who are approved for work authorization may apply for a Social Security Number. You will need to apply in person at the Social Security Administration office. See our SSN page for additional information.
USCIS will only grant work authorization up until the end date on your DS-2019. If the J-1 applies for an extension of their DS-2019, you would also need to apply for a new EAD in order to continue working. If you need to renew your J-2 work authorization, you should apply approximately 90 days before the end date of your current EAD. Please be advised that if your current EAD expires, you will need to stop working until you have the new EAD and are within the date on the new card.