Dependant Employment Options


A dependent with J-2 status may apply for employment authorization from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The authorization will be granted in the form of an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). The EAD may be issued for the entire period covered by the DS-2019 or may be issued for one year only, whichever is shorter.

Once granted, the employment authorization for a J-2 is unrestricted; that is, the individual may work for any employer.

It is advisable to wait at least two to three months after arrival in the U.S. to apply for permission to work as a J-2. This is because the J-1 recently certified to a U.S. consul that he or she had sufficient funds to support all family members in order to obtain visas for entry to the U.S. It is not usually expected that there will be a sudden change in financial resources immediately after arrival. Additionally, you will need some time to determine what your actual expenses are. Income earned by J-2 dependents is subject to Federal, State, and Social Security taxes.

In order to obtain work permission, you must state that there are sufficient funds to cover the educational and living expenses of the J-1 student or scholar, and that the income earned is not to support the J-1 principal. In addition, you need to state that the employment is needed for the support of the J-2 dependent(s) only.

If a J-2 has applied to USCIS for an extension of an EAD that is going to expire, but if the EAD card expires before the new card is actually received, the J-2 will have to stop working after the expiration of the old card while waiting for the new EAD card.

J-2 applicants will need the following items:

  1. Completed Form I-765 (available here);
  2. Check or money order in the amount of $340 made payable to the Department of Homeland Security;
  3. Photocopy of Form I-94 (front and back) of J-1 (student or scholar);
  4. Photocopy of Form I-94 (front and back) of J-2 (dependent);
  5. Photocopy of current Form DS-2019 (both J-1's and J-2's); and
  6. Cover letter (see below).
  7. Photocopy of passport pages (photo page, biographical data page and U.S. visa page)
  8. Two (2) photos as follows: (1)fullface, front view,eyes open, without glasses; (2)make sure photo presents full head from top of hair to bottom of chin;height of head should measure 1 inch to 1-3/8 inches(25 mm to 35 mm); (3)center head within frame; (4)make sure eye height is between 1-1/8 inches to 1-3/8 inches(28mm and 3mm) from bottom of photo; (5)photo should be against a plain white or off-white background and there should be no distracting shadows on the face or background.Lightly print your name on the back of each photo with a pencil.

Mail the application including supporting documents by certified mail with return receipt to the following address:

For U. S. Postal Service (USPS) deliveries use:

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
P. O. Box 21281
Phoenix, AZ 85036

For Express Mail and courier deliveries use:

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Attention: AOS
1820 E. Skyharbor Circle S
Suite 100
Phoenix, AZ 84034

USCIS will send the EAD card to the address given on the Form I-765.

The cover letter should be addressed to the "U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services." It should be brief, stating clearly that the money earned will be used to support the J-2 dependent(s) and will not be used to support the J-1 student or scholar.

If you need more information, please see an OISS advisor.