J-2 Work Authorization

ATTENTION: USCIS Fees Increasing December 23, 2016
USICS will increase the EAD application fee to $410 effective December 23, 2016.
Any applications received after the effective increase date will be rejected and returned to the applicant.
All new fees are listed at https://www.uscis.gov/forms/our-fees.

Employment Authorization Document (EAD)

J-2 visa holders may apply for permission to accept employment, provided that the income from such employment is not needed for the support of the J-1 or the J-2 dependents. J-2 work permission should not be requested due to income necessity.

J-2 dependents are eligible for employment and are required to:

  • Apply and be approved for full-time or part-time (paid or unpaid) work authorization through USCIS.
  • Not work for the purpose of supporting the primary J-1 or J-2 dependents.
  • Reapply, in a timely manner, for renewal of the EAD each year (renewals may be applied for up to 120 days prior to the current EAD expiration date).
  • Maintain their U.S. residence with the primary J-1. J-2 dependents are required to live with the primary J-1 while inside the U.S.
  • Cease working under the EAD authorization, if the J-1 or J-2 violates status, changes from J status to another visa status, or leaves the J program altogether.

In order to obtain your J-2 EAD card you must follow the directions below:

  • Complete the I-765 form (please type, hand-written I-765s are not recommend).
    • Number 16 on the I-765 linked below has been pre-filled with the correct designation.
  • J-2 to sign in the space provided on the I-765 signature form.
  • I-94 for J-2 applicant and primary J-1.
    • I-94: the electronic Form I-94 in paper format obtained from CBP’s website (www.cbp.gov/I94), or a copy of your paper I-94 card (front and back) - if hard copy was issued by the U.S Port of Entry, mainly seen with entries from Canada.
  • Copy of most recent DS-2019 for the J-2 applicant and primary J-1.
  • Copy of current visa and passport for the J-2 applicant and primary J-1 (if an in-country change of status was conducted to J status include a copy of the USCIS change of status approval notice).
  • If applicable, copies of any previously issued EAD cards (front and back).
  • Two passport-regulation photos (taken within the last six months) that meet USCIS color
    photograph requirements (white or off-white background). Print clearly your full name and I-94 number in pencil on the back of each photo. Photos should be placed in a small envelope labeled “Photos” to be included in the final EAD packet sent to USCIS. We do not recommend using passport photos that appear in your current visa or passport even if the pictures are recent.
  • A brief letter of explanation requesting permission to work (please follow the sample letter below). By signing the letter the J-2 is confirming the information is true and accurate.
  • Fee for processing the EAD application ($410.00 USD, non-refundable), should be a cashier check or money order payable to the Department of Homeland Security.
  • Mail all of the above documents (through the U.S. Postal Service via certified mail, this allows you to track the packet, standard USPS does not allow for tracking) to the following address:

USCIS Dallas Lockbox
PO Box 660867
Dallas, TX 75266

Re: I-765 / J-2 EAD Application

Additional Information:

  • After receiving the EAD packet USCIS will mail you a receipt (I-797C – Notice of Action) in approximately two weeks. The receipt will confirm the date your EAD packet was received, contain a receipt number, and confirm your payment was received.
  • You may track the progress and view updates about your EAD application using your I-797C receipt number on the USCIS cast status website: https://egov.uscis.gov/casestatus/landing.do
  • If you change your U.S. living address prior to receiving the EAD you should complete the USCIS online address update via the AR-11: https://egov.uscis.gov/coa/displayCOAForm.do
  • Once the EAD is issued this is permission for the J-2 to apply for a U.S. Social Security card.
  • All J-2 employment (paid or unpaid) must be conducted under an active EAD authorization.
  • J-2 EAD authorizations are generally granted for one year intervals or for the remaining validity of the DS-2019, whichever is shorter. Employment (paid or unpaid) may not being until the EAD is issued and in possession of the J-2 applicant.