J2 Visa EAD (Employment Authorization Document) or Work Permit
Dependents of J-1 visa holders on J-2 visa can apply for work permit (Employment Authorization Document or EAD) if they would like to work in the U.S. J-2 visa holders may not work in the U.S. until EAD has been approved. The duration of EAD would usually be until the date mentioned on Form DS-2019. You can get Social Security Number (SSN) until EAD is approved. EAD application processing takes around 3 to 4 months.

Documents
A separate application form, fees and set of documents are required for each applicant (including yourself, each of your family member) who qualifies to get EAD.
  • Fee payment

  • Form I-765, Application For Employment Authorization

    Sample Form I765

    Instructions to fill Form I-765

  • Copies of most all Forms DS-2019 and IAP-66, personal data page (photo page) of the passport, U.S. visas and Form I94 (front and back) for both J-1 and J-2. Canadians may not have the visa stamp. Do not send any originals.

  • A copy of your last EAD (front and back), if available. This would be required if this is an extension/renewal application.

  • 2 identical photographs

    Please write your name lightly in pencil on the back of each photograph.

  • A written statement requesting work authorization. Income derived from employment of J-2 visa holder must not be used to support J-1 visa holder, but it can be used for other purposes such as for recreational and cultural activities and related travel, to gain work experience, for career advancement etc. J2 EAD requests based on financial necessity will not be accepted. In the letter, you should also mention J-1 spouse's employer, salary or funding he/she receives, that this funding is enough to support the family. It would be helpful to get the letter from the organization from where J-1 spouse receives salary or funding.

    If your spouse's J-1 status is valid for more than one year, you would add the statement in the letter: "I would like to request employment authorization until the end date on my DS-2019, MM/DD/YYYY, under federal regulation 8 CFR 274a.12 (a) and (c)".

    Sample letter

  • Copy of marriage certificate, if applying for J-2 spouse.

  • Copy of birth certificate, if applying for J-2 child.

  • If you have a prospective employer who is willing to hire you once you have the EAD, a letter from your future employer that would make it clear that you will be working for professional development or other reasons rather than to support your spouse.

  • E-Notification: If you want 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.

Filing The Application
Application filing instructions

Make a copy of the entire package (including the checks/money orders for fees) before you send it. Retain all originals. Send copies of original documents. The USCIS may ask to check them by issuing an RFE (Request For Evidence). If you receive an RFE, make a copy of everything you send as well.

If you are sending the application by postal mail, make sure to send it by means that you can track such as "certified mail with return receipt requested".

If your previous EAD expires and if you have not yet received the approval of the extension of EAD, you can not work in the interim duration. To avoid the gap in employment and as the processing of the EAD application takes time, you should apply for an extension around three to four months before your current EAD expires. However, please note that you may apply for EAD only as long as both you on J-2 and the primary applicant on J-1 visa are maintain valid status and that means both of you may need to get your status extended before you can file extension of EAD.

Application should be sent to USCIS Lockbox Address which varies based on the state you live in.

If you live in the following states:
Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Guam, or the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands

For U.S. Postal Service:
USCIS
PO Box 21281
Phoenix, AZ 85036
For Express mail and courier service deliveries:
USCIS
Attn.: AOS
1820 E. Skyharbor Circle S
Suite 100
Phoenix, AZ 85034

If you live in the following states:
Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, U.S. Virgin Islands, or West Virginia

For U.S. Postal Service:
USCIS
PO Box 660867
Dallas, TX 75266
For Express mail and courier service:
USCIS
Attn.: AOS
2501 S State Hwy. 121, Business
Suite 400
Lewisville, TX 75067

Post Approval
Social Security Number
Once you get your EAD approved, you can apply for SSN. You will have to show them your passport, visa, Form I-94, Form DS-2019 (both J-1 and J-2) and your EAD.

Dependency on J-1 status
As J-2 visa is completely dependent on J-1 visa, J-2 EAD holder can work until the date printed on the EAD card or until the J-1 principal completes the exchange program, whichever is sooner. J-2 EAD extension can be applied only as long as J-1 holder maintains the status.

If the J-1 visa holder discontinues the program or changes to another category, the J-2 work authorization will be invalid.

Work
Once you have approved EAD, you can work full-time or part-time anywhere you like. Of course, there may be some restrictions with some employers who can employ U.S. citizens due to security reasons or for reason such as the job is reserved only for U.S. citizens or permanent residents. J-2 EAD holders can even work on-campus (of J-1 holder) as long they have a valid EAD.

Taxes
Employment on J-2 is subject to all regular taxes such as social security and medicare taxes; federal, state and local income taxes etc.