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Office of International Education
J-2 Employment

J-2 Employment Eligibility

J-2 dependents are eligible to apply to for employment authorization to USCIS as long as:

  • The J-1 primary is maintain valid immigration status;  and
  • The reason for seeking employment is not to support the J-1 primary.
  • Income from the J-2 spouse's or dependent's employment may be used to support activities that are recreational, cultural, or travel related.

 Application Materials for J-2 Employment Authorization:

  • Check payable to Department of Homeland Security: Personal checks and money orders are acceptable.

  • G-1145, E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance (if you wish to receive an email and/or text message informing you that USCIS has accepted your application or petition.)
  • Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization): The J-2 applicant should complete this form. We recommend typing the application using the fillable form to avoid errors on your EAD. In items 14 and 15, write "J-2 Dependent." In item 16, write "c" inside the first set of parentheses and "5" inside the second set. Leave the third set blank.
  • Two identical color passport-size photographs of J-2 with name and I-94 number written lightly on the backs. Photos must meet frontal passport specifications and should be on a white background taken no earlier than 30 days prior to submitting your OPT application.
  • J-2 statement: On a separate piece of paper, the J-2 applicant should state that the work permission is not necessary to support the J-1 visa holder but is for other purposes (e.g. cultural, recreational, and travel expenses for the J-2 dependent). Sample Letter
  • J-2 immigration documents: Photocopies of the J-2's Form DS-2019, Form I-94 (front and back), J-2 visa, J-2 entry stamp, and passport identity page(s). [If you are applying for an extension of your current EAD, include a copy of your current EAD (front and back) along with the cardboard slip it was attached to when you received it in the mail].
  • J-1 immigration documents: Photocopies of the J-1's Form DS-2019, Form I-94 (front and back), J-1 visa, J-1 entry stamp, and passport identity page(s).
  •  Copy of Marriage/ Birth Certificate (I do not believe this a an absolute requirement but it does re-establish the relationship of the J-1 primary to the J-2 dependent)

It is recommended that you make copies of all of the application materials for your files and mail this application at the post office by "certified mail/return receipt requested" or express mail.

You are responsible for mailing your completed application to the appropriate USICS Lockbox or Service Center that processes applications for your eligibility category or place of residence. Please note filing locations are subject to change; please confirm mailing address by checking the USCIS website and pages 8-10 of the I-765 instructions.

All U.S. Postal Service mail (1st class, Priority, Express) should be sent to the lockbox address (P.O. Box).

All other courier services or "express" mail (FedEx, UPS, DHL, etc) should be sent to the appropriate courier address.

Authorized Employment

If a J-2 dependent’s employment application is approved, an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) is issued. A J-2 may not begin employment until it is at least the start date indicated on the EAD card and must cease employment by the end date indicated on the EAD card unless an employment extension has been granted in the form of a new EAD card with valid work authorization dates. Employment may be full-time or part-time and may occur in any field.

Extension of Employment Authorization

The Form I-765 with all supporting documentation indicated above must be filed with USCIS every time an extension of employment authorization is necessary.

In order to avoid interruptions in J-2 employment authorization, the Form I-765 for extension of employment authorization must be filed sufficiently in advance (but no more than 120 days prior to the EAD card expiration date) so that the extension application is approved prior to the expiration of the current employment authorization period. J-2 employment authorization expires with the expiration of the EAD regardless of whether or not someone has a pending application for employment authorization. If the current EAD expires while the application is pending, the J-2 must cease employment until receiving the new EAD.


Unlike J-1 exchange visitors, J-2 dependents are subject to Social Security taxes. They are also subject to federal income taxes, and where applicable, state income taxes.

Social Security Number (SSN)

A J-2 dependent is only eligible for a Social Security Number if they have obtained an EAD card and it is still valid.