J-2 dependents who enter the U.S. in J-2 status and are currently present in the U.S. are eligible to submit an application to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) in order to work in the U.S.

The processing time for EAD card applications varies, and can take up to 3 months. The application cannot be submitted until the J-2 dependent has entered the U.S. in J-2 status, and can only be submitted while the J-2 dependent is physically present in the U.S.

The EAD card will typically be issued to match the length of the J-1’s DS-2019. If the J-1 principal extends their DS-2019, and the J-2 would also like to extend their work authorization, they will need to submit a new I-765 application to USCIS to renew the EAD. J-2 dependents are only authorized to work during the dates authorized on their EAD card.

Both part-time and full-time work are permitted using a J-2 EAD card, however any income earned through J-2 employment should not be for the intention of supporting the J-1 principal. J-2 dependents are encouraged to include a support letter, written by themselves to USCIS, with their EAD application to clarify how prospective future employment will not be used for these purposes.

Required Documentation

To apply for an EAD, the J-2 dependent must prepare the following documents to mail to USCIS:

  • G-1145, e-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance
  • Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization
    • On item #9, leave blank if you do not yet have a Social Security number. On item #16, put in the code, “(C)(5)( )”.
  • A check or money order payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (staple to I-765) .
    NOTE: U.S. Department of Homeland Security fees are subject to change, please use the fee indicated on the Form I-765 page.
  • Letter explaining why work authorization is sought (see sample below), written by J-2 applicant; the letter should state that employment is not necessary to support the J-1
  • Photocopies of the J-2 and J-1’s current and prior DS-2019s
  • Two passport photos
    • Photos should be passport style: white background, unmounted glossy, with a full face position, not retouched
    • Photos should not be taken earlier than 30 days before submission to USCIS
    • Lightly print your name and SEVIS ID on the back of each photo with a pencil
  • Photocopy of the identification page in J-2’s passport
  • Photocopy of the visa page in J-2’s passport
  • J-2’s I-94
  • Photocopies of any Employment Authorization Document (EAD) cards previously issued to the J-2
  • Photocopy of the J-2’s driver’s license or other photo identification, if available
  • Marriage certificate (if spouse of the J-1), or birth certificate (if child of the J-1)
    • Foreign-language documents should include an official English translation

Mailing Instructions

Please be sure to mail your documents to the correct Lockbox address based on the mailing method you select.

For Overnight or Courier Delivery with tracking (RECOMMENDED), please use a service such as FedEx Next Day, UPS, etc. If using the United States Post Office (USPS) to mail your application, using “CERTIFIED Mail” is recommended.

Key Resources

Sample Letter for J-2 Employment »

This letter is to help J-2 visa holders request employment authorization.