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Employment of J-2 Dependents

The spouse and dependent children of J-1 visa holders, or J-2 dependents, are permitted to work in the United States on two conditions:

  • They apply to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). They can begin employment only after receiving the EAD.
  • The employment is not intended to support the J-1 visa holder. Income from the spouse's or dependent's employment may be used to support the family's customary recreational and cultural activities and related travel, among other things.

Applying for the J-2 Employment Authorization Document

J-2 dependents must apply for an Employment Authorization Document to the USCIS Service Center that has jurisdiction over their place of residence.

The application must include the following:

  • Completed and signed Form I-765. You may complete the form electronically or print and complete it manually. USCIS prefers to receive electronically completed documentation.
  • Two recent photographs. The photos must meet the U.S. Department of State Composition Checklist. Print your name and SEVIS number in pencil on the back of the photographs. Do not cut to size or staple.
  • US$180 filing fee. You may pay using a check or money order, payable to Department of Homeland Security. Do not send cash in the mail.
  • Copies of all Form DS-2019 for the J-2 visa holder.
  • Copies of all Form DS-2019 of the J-1 visa holder.
  • Copies of Form I-94 (front and back) of both the J-1 and J-2 visa holders.
  • A copy of J-2 visa stamp in the passport, and the passport page with your photo and information.
  • Letter from the J-2 visa holder stating why the employment is desired, indicating the source and amount of support for the principal participant, and specifically stating that the income derived from employment will not be used for the support of the J-1 exchange visitor.
Make copies of all the documents you submit. Staple all the documents together and send by certified U.S. mail with a return receipt to:

USCIS Service Center
P.O. Box 10765
Laguna Niguel , CA 92067-1076

Make sure you keep a copy of all the documents you submit.

After mailing in the documents, you will receive a I-797 Notice of Receipt notifying you of an approximately 90 days wait to receive your EAD.

Anyone who earns money in the United States must be able to identify themselves for tax purposes using a social security number. J-2 visa holders are subject to social security taxes, federal income taxes and, where applicable, state and local income taxes. If you need assistance applying for a social security number, contact IPS.