J-2 dependents are eligible to apply for work permission in the United States, so long as the income is not needed to support you, the J-1. Authorized work permission allows your J-2 dependent to work an unlimited number of hours per week in any type of job. Applications for J-2 work permission must be sent directly to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for approval and do not need approval of Scholar Services.
USCIS can take several months to process applications. Work permission from the USCIS is granted in the form of an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). J-2 applicants should not begin employment until USCIS authorization is received. The USCIS routinely mails the EAD directly to the J-2’s home address as completed on the application. Upon receipt of the EAD, please carefully review the details for accuracy and note the expiration date of the card.
International travel is not recommended while the application is pending with USCIS.
What to submit to USCIS:
- Completed Form I-765: the most recent Form I-765 is available on the USCIS website. We recommend that you complete form, print, sign at the bottom with blue ink, and paper-file the application rather than e-filing. Review the Instructions for Form I-765 closely.
- A personal check or money order payable to: US Department of Homeland Security. The current filing fee amount can be found on the Form I-765 USCIS page.
- I-94 information for J-1 & J-2, front and back (photocopy only)
- J-2’s visa stamp in passport (photocopy only)
- All DS-2019 forms issued to J-1 and J-2 (photocopy only)
- J-2’s photo/biographical information page from passport (photocopy only)
- Two passport-style color photos of J-2 dependent
- Proof of relationship to J-1 exchange visitor (marriage certificate for spouses, birth certificate for children)
- Proof of J-1 exchange visitor's funding as indicated on the DS-2019 form
- Brief cover letter to USCIS requesting J-2 work permission. Indicate the source and amount of support for the J-1 principal and state specifically that the income from J-2 employment will not be used for support of the J-1 principal, rather will be used for additional support of the J-2 applicant and any children in the US
- If you are applying for a renewal, include copies of all employment authorization documents (EAD card) previously issued to you by USCIS
Where to send your documents:
Refer to the USCIS I-765 instructions on where to mail your application.
How to track your application:
We recommend that you obtain a tracking number when you mail your package. Also, you should keep a copy of everything you submit in case your package gets lost in the mail.
To receive an e-mail and/or a text message that your Form I-765 has been accepted at a USCIS Lockbox facility, complete Form G-1145, E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance and clip it to the first page of your application. There is no fee to do this, however, this service is currently only available at the Lewisville, TX facility.
You should get a receipt with a number from USCIS a few weeks after mailing in the application. Save the receipt and refer to the number if you want to track the status of your case at www.uscis.gov.
USCIS will typically grant work authorization until the end date on the DS-2019 form included with the application, but occasionally the EAD expiration date may differ. Please carefully note the end date on the EAD and plan ahead if a renewal is required.
Extensions/renewals of the EAD are possible, as long as both the J-1 and J-2 visa holders are maintaining status and hold valid DS-2019 forms. A new application will need to be submitted to USCIS. It is recommend that the application is submitted at least 90 days but not more than 180 days prior to the current EAD expiration date.
If the current EAD expires while the new application is pending, the J-2 dependent must cease employment until they receive the new EAD.