J-2 Work Authorization

Procedures for J-2 Visa Holders to Apply for Work Permission

J-2 dependents are eligible to apply for work authorization to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). The approval process takes anywhere from two to four months and as a result the applicant will receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card. The card is usually valid for up to one year, subject to the program end date listed on the DS-2019 form.

You are able to begin employment once you receive your EAD card. This type of employment authorization allows you to work full-time or part-time for any type of employer. You can change employers without having to notify immigration services or OISS. If you want to re-new your card, you should apply for an extension at least three to four months prior to the expiration date listed on your current document.

In order for you to be employed you must also have a Social Security Number. To apply for a social security card, please go to the Social Security Office located at 1170 Harvard Way in Reno . Please bring your passport, visa, I-94 card, DS-2019 form and EAD card. If you have obtained your J-2 status through the change of status procedures, then you should bring the I-797 form the approval notice from USCIS.

How to Apply


Please collect/complete all documents listed below:

  1. Form I-765 downloaded from uscis.gov or obtained from OISS. If extending, attach a copy of your previous EAD card.
  2. Check for $380.00 payable to USCIS (personal check or money order).
  3. # Letter from the applicant explaining the reason for applying for employment authorization such as: pursuing special interests, maintaining/developing professional skills, being able to pay for classes or travel etc. Bear in mind that the income obtained from such employment cannot be used to support the J-1 principal. You may want to include this statement in your letter. # Copies of DS-2019 forms for yourself and J-1 principal.
  4. Copies of DS-2019 forms for yourself and J-1 principal.
  5. Copies of passport (bio page and visa page) and I-94 card (front and back). If you changed status to J-2 while in the U.S. , please attach a copy of the approval notice (I-797 form).
  6. 2 passport photos; write your name and I-94 number on the back.

Mail the application to:

U.S.CIS Phoenix lockbox
P.O. Box 21281
Phoenix, AZ 85036

Two to four weeks later you will receive a receipt notice confirming that the immigration service has received your application. This receipt notice will have your case number printed in the upper left corner (WAC followed by numbers). You can find out the status of your application at https://egov.immigration.gov/cris/jsps/index.jsp by typing in your case number.


Your second option is to e-file your application. Please go to uscis.gov and follow the instructions. Towards the end you will be prompted to print-out a copy of I-765 form along with the receipt and instructions on where to send your documents. The e-filing allows you to file electronically the I-765 form, pay the required fee on line and to receive your confirmation/receipt number immediately. You will then need to send copies of the remaining documentation mentioned above (except your photographs) to USCIS Service Center . Also, you will need to have your digital picture taken at the local immigration office at 790 Sandhill Bd in Reno . The time of your appointment for the picture will be indicated in a letter that you will receive from the immigration service in 4-6 weeks.

Please feel free to ask for assistance at OISS if you want us to review your application.