J-2 Dependent Employment Authorization

What Is J-2 Dependent Employment Authorization?

J-2 Dependent Employment Authorization allows J-2 dependents of J-1 Exchange Visitors to be employed while the family is in the U.S. as long as that employment is not intended to support the J-1 visa holder.

Conditions of Eligibility

  • The J-1 exchange visitor and the J-2 dependent must hold and maintain valid J visa status.
  • Money received from employment will not be used to support the J-1 exchange visitor.
    • The J-1’s obligations include the J-2 dependents’ basic living costs such as rent and food.
  • The J-2 Dependent may not work until they receive their Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
  • The EAD is valid for any kind of part-time or full-time employment.
    • There is no legal limit to the amount of money you may earn.
  • USCIS will generally authorize J-2 employment for one year, or up to the expiration date of the J-1 visa holder’s DS-2019.
    • Permission to work ends on the expiration date shown on the EAD and is valid only as long as the J-1 is maintaining status.

Instructions for Completing This Request

  1. Gather the following documents:
    • A completed I-765 form.
      • The code for item #27 is (c)(5)
    • A $410 check or money order made payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
    • 2 passport photos (must be taken no more than 30 days before applying)
    • Copies of current DS-2019s for the J-1 and the J-2
    • Copies of the I-94 records for both the J-1 and J-2
    • Letter from the J-2 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.
      • A J-2 does not need to demonstrate financial need to receive employment authorization.
      • A sample letter has been provided below.
    • If applicable, a copy of any previously issued employment authorization document(s)
    • Optional: To receive an electronic notification when your I-765 form has been accepted, complete Form G-1145, E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance, and clip it to the front of the application package.
  2. Make a copy of all documents for your own records.
  3. Mail your completed application to the following address:
    • For U.S. Postal Service (USPS) Deliveries:
      • USCIS
        P.O. Box 21281
        Phoenix, AZ 85036
    • For Express Courier Deliveries (UPS, DHL, FedEx):
      • USCIS
        Attn: AOS
        1820 E. Skyharbor Circle S.
        Suite 100
        Phoenix, AZ 85034
  4. Wait 3-4 months for processing. Do not work until you receive the EAD card from USCIS.

Sample Letter to USCIS


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

P.O. Box 21281 Phoenix, AX 85036

To Whom it May Concern:

I wish to apply for permission to work (Give reasons for why you wish to work. Examples of reasons include: · To help pay for my cultural activities or travel · To help pay for my courses at the university · To get work experience · To help pay for school expenses for our child)

My spouse is a visiting researcher at Colorado State University. He/she receives $_______ per month from (name of department or source of funding). Any money I earn will be used for (give stated reason) and not for the support of my spouse.


Your Signature (your name and address printed)