J-2 dependent family members may apply to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for permission to accept employment on the Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization; a job offer is not required, and a Social Security Number (SSN) can also be requested with this application.
The request for employment authorization must not be to support the J-1 principal or the J-2 dependent(s).
It may take up to five months for an application for J-2 employment authorization to be approved.
If the J-2 Employment Authorization application is approved the J-2 will receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) with no work restrictions.
The J-2 dependent may NOT begin working until they receive their EAD. The J-2 dependent may only work within the validity dates listed on the card. The work can be part-time or full-time, at any job, for any employer. The J-2 visa holder will be subject to social security taxes, federal income taxes and state taxes.
A cover letter requesting employment authorization - The cover letter should include the following:
A statement that you are the J-2 dependent of a scholar (include the J-1 principal’s name) and that you wish to apply for employment authorization.
The source and amount of the J-1’s financial support.
The reason you wish to be employed (e.g.: to cover travel expenses for touring, to keep your skill sets maintained, to learn new sets of skills).
A statement that any income earned is not needed for the support of the J-1 student/scholar.
Completed Form I-765
Download the current form at www.uscis.gov. Do not use an outdated version.
Copy of J-2 dependent’s immigration documents:
Passport ID page
Form I-797 Approval Notice (for dependents who have changed their status to J-2 within the U.S.)
Copy of J-1 principal’s funding documentation (e.g., bank statement, fellowship letter, employment verification, etc.)
Copy of marriage certificate (any document containing foreign language to USCIS must be accompanied by a full English language translation which the translator has certified as complete and accurate, and by the translator's certification that he or she is competent to translate from the foreign language to English)
Check or money order in the amount of $410 made payable to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security”
Applications for J-2 employment authorization must be filed by mail to the USCIS Lockbox Facility with jurisdiction over the J-2's place of residence. See Form I-765 Direct Filing Addresses. We recommend that you make a copy of your application and that you mail your application by certified mail, to have proof that your appplication was received.
Processing time for J-2 Employment Authorization may vary. You can check the status of your case online at the USCIS website once you have received a Receipt Notice,