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

BY MAIL (only option)

Please collect/complete all documents listed below and arrange them in the numbered order:

  1. OPTIONAL: Form G-1145 (E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance) to request an e-Notification of the receipt of the application at the USCIS Lockbox facility. There is no filing fee for this service.
  2. *Personal check or money order for the filing fee payment of $41000 (four hundred and ten) payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
  3. 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.
  4. Form I-765. Please read Form I-765 instructions and questions carefully:
    1. Select "Permission to accept employment" for I am applying for;
    2. Item 16, "Eligibility under 8 CFR 274a.12": enter (c)(5)( );
    3. Float your signature inside the signature box. Do not touch or cross the box border.
  5. Dated and 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.
  6. Copies of DS-2019 forms, current passport bio page (include extension page if applicable), current visa, and I-94 (front and back if you have the paper form) for J-2 dependent and J-1 principal.
    1. If the dependent changed status to J-2 or if the J-1 principal changed status to J-1 while in the U.S., attach a copy of the approval notice (Form I-797).
  7. Attach a front and back copy of any previous EAD cards for the J-2 dependent, even if the EAD card was for another immigration status.
  8. Proof of marriage such as a marriage certificate. Include certified translation if not in English.

*Mail the application to the USCIS Phoenix Lockbox if you live in Nevada. We recommend requesting tracking information for your mailing.

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 Form I-765 page 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 "Check your 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.

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