Employment of J-2 Dependent

Employment of J-2 Dependents

Information for J-2 Employment Authorization

The J-2 dependent spouse of a J-1 exchange visitor may apply to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for employment authorization. In order to be eligible, the J-1 principal and the J-2 dependent must be physically present in the United States. Additionally, employment authorization may be granted only to support the recreational activity, professional development, and/or financial resources of the J-2 dependent (and any J-2 dependent children). The J-2 spouse may not apply for employment authorization for the purpose of providing financial support to the J-1 exchange visitor.

Application Procedure

In order to apply for J-2 employment authorization, J-2 applicants must prepare the following documents as indicated below: 

  1. USCIS Form I-765 (Adobe Acrobat required). Download and complete a copy of Form I-765. Note that the answer to question #27 is (c)(5). 
  2. I-765 application fee, made payable via check or money order payable to the "Department of Homeland Security"  - check USCIS website for application fee 
  3. Two color passport photos, 2 inches by 2 inches, color with white/light background
  4. Photocopies of the J-1 and J-2's passport identification and expiration page
  5. Photocopies of the J-1 and J-2 entry visas and I-94 cards (both sides)
  6. Photocopies of the J-1 and J-2's DS-2019 forms
  7. A signed and dated letter from the J-2 dependent, indicating his/her reasons for applying for employment authorization (for personal recreation, to enhance the J-2's professional work experience, to gain language skills, for personal spending money, etc.); the letter should also indicate that the reason for employment is not to support the J-1 exchange visitor.
  8. Recommended: copies of the J-1's financial documents, to show that the J-1 has adequate financial resources to support their own activity and stay in the United States.

Send all application documents by express service or certified mail, return receipt, to the address listed on the application instruction page. 

After Submission of Application

Within four to six weeks after the I-765 application packet is received by the USCIS, you will receive an I-797 Notice of Action (receipt notice) confirming that your application is being processed.  Keep this receipt, as it contains information that may be needed in the event there is a problem with your application or follow-up of some kind becomes necessary.  The receipt notice will indicate your I-765 case number (e.g., EAC-xx-xxxxxxxx). You can use this number to check the status of your application through the USCIS Case Status Online system.

Within 8-12 weeks, you should receive an Employment Authorization (EAD) card granting you authorization to work.

  • You may not start working until you receive the EAD card, and until the start date on the EAD card has been reached.
  • J-2 employment authorization is usually granted for a maximum of one year, or up to the expiration of the J-1's DS-2019, whichever is earlier. A J-2 dependent may submit a new application to renew employment authorization if the J-1's stay is later extended.
  • Once you receive your EAD card, submit a copy to the OISS.

Termination of Employment Authorization

J-2 employment authorization is automatically terminated if the J-1 principal falls out of J-1 status or completes his/her stay in the United States.

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