J-2 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. How long the card is valid depends on the program end date listed on the DS-2019 form.

You are able to begin employment once you receive your EAD card and the start date is effective. 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. To renew your card, you should apply for an extension at least 3 to 4 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 Administration office located at 1170 Harvard Way in Reno. Please bring your passport, visa, I-94, DS-2019 and EAD card. If you have obtained your J-2 status through the change of status procedures, then you should bring the I-797  approval notice from USCIS.

How to Apply


Please collect/complete all documents listed below:

  1. Form I-765. If extending, attach a copy of your previous EAD card.
  2. *Personal check or money order for the filing fee payment of $38000 (three hundred and eighty) payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
  3. Signed letter from the J-2 dependent 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 should include a statement in the letter that the money from working will not be used to support the J-1 principal.
  4. Copies of DS-2019 forms for yourself and J-1 principal.
  5. Copies of the passport bio page (include extension page if you have one), visa and I-94 (front and back if you have the paper form). 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 identical passport photos (2" x 2") taken within 30 days of filing your application with your name and I-94 number lightly written on the back of the photos with a felt tip pen so the imprint does not show through in the front. Place the photos in a small envelope or the envelope given when you take the photos.

*Mail the application to the USCIS Phoenix Lockbox if you live in Nevada:

PO Box 21281
Phoenix, AZ 85036

If you do not live in Nevada, go to Where to File for the filing address.

*Filing fee and mailing addresses subject to change. Check the instructions for Form I-765 to verify the filing fee and delivery address.

2 to 4 weeks after USCIS receives your application, you will receive Form I-797C with your Receipt Number (starts with WAC) confirming that USCIS has received your application. This does not indicate approval. Use the Receipt Number to check the status of your application at http://www.uscis.gov under Case Status. You should receive your EAD card within 90 days of the received date on the Form I-797C if your application is approved.


Your second option is to e-File your application. E-Filing does not make the application process go any faster. Please go to http://www.uscis.gov/e-filing-i-765 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 online 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 the USCIS Service Center as listed on the instructions you print out. Also, you will need to have your digital picture taken at the local USCIS office at 790 Sandhill Rd 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 before you submit it.