Dependents of J-1 visa holders on a J-2 visa can apply for a 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 their EAD has been approved. The duration of the EAD would usually be until the date mentioned on Form DS-2019. You can get a Social Security Number (SSN) when the EAD is approved. EAD application processing takes around 3 to 4 months.
A separate application form, fees, and a set of documents are required for each applicant (including yourself and for each of your family members) who qualifies to get an EAD.
- Fee payment
- Form I-765, Application For Employment Authorization
Sample Form I-765
Instructions to fill Form I-765
- Copies of mostly all of Forms DS-2019 and IAP-66, personal data page (photo page) of the passport, U.S. visas, and Form I-94 for both the J-1 and J-2 holders. 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 the employment of a J-2 visa holder must not be used to support a J-1 visa holder, but it can be used for other purposes, such as for recreational and cultural activities, 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 the J-1 spouse’s employer, salary or funding he/she receives, and that this funding is enough to support the family. It would be helpful to get a letter from the organization from where the 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).”
- Copy of marriage certificate, if applying for a J-2 spouse.
- Copy of birth certificate, if applying for a 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 (rather than to support your spouse) or other reasons would be beneficial.
- 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
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 through “certified mail with a return receipt requested”.
If your previous EAD expires, and if you have not yet received the approval of the extension of your EAD, you can not work in the interim duration. To avoid the gap in employment, you should apply for an extension around three to four months before your current EAD expires because the processing of the EAD application takes time. However, please note that you may apply for the EAD only as long as both you on the J-2 and the primary applicant on the J-1 visa are maintaining a valid status; that means both of you may need to get your status extended before you can file for the extension of your EAD.
The application should be sent to a 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:
PO Box 21281
Phoenix, AZ 85036
|For Express Mail and Courier Service Deliveries:
Attn.: NFB AOS
1820 E. Skyharbor Circle S
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:
PO Box 660867
Dallas, TX 75266
|For Express Mail and Courier Service:
Attn.: FNB AOS
2501 S State Hwy. 121, Business
Lewisville, TX 75067
Social Security Number
Once you get your EAD approved, you can apply for a 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
Since a J-2 visa is completely dependent on a J-1 visa, a 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. A J-2 EAD extension can be applied only as long as the 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.
Once you have an 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 only U.S. citizens due to security reasons or for other reasons. Some jobs are reserved only for U.S. citizens or permanent residents. J-2 EAD holders can even work on-campus (of a J-1 holder) as long they have a valid EAD.
Employment under a J-2 status is subject to all regular taxes, such as social security and Medicare taxes, federal, state, and local income taxes, etc.
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