A dependent (the spouse or minor child) of a J-1 visa holder is given J-2 status upon entering the United States. J-2 visa holders are eligible to apply for work permission if the following requirements are met:

  • The J-1 visa holder maintains his/her status in the United States.
  • The money earned by the J-2 must not be used to support the J-1 visa holder.

This employment authorization allows the J-2 dependent to work for any employer for any number of hours as long as the employment authorization document (EAD) is valid and as long as J-2 status is maintained. If the EAD is due to expire and the J-1 spouse/parent has maintained his/her J-1 status, then the J-2 can request an extension of the current work permission.

Applying for Work Permission

The J-2 should write a cover letter to accompany the application for employment authorization. This letter should explain why work permission is being sought [examples: earn money for school or travel, further own professional career, etc.] and outline the family's financial resources to clearly demonstrate that all expenses for the J-1 are met without the help of the J-2. This cover letter should also list all items included in the petition. For help, please see the sample letter.

Application Contents

  • Cover letter from the J-2 requesting work permission
  • Financial statement showing funds for the entire family's expenses
  • Form I-765 [Reason for eligibility: (c)(5)]
  • Photocopy of J-2 DS-2019 Form and J-1 DS-2019 Form
  • Photocopy of the I-94 record for the J-1
  • Photocopy of the I-94 record for the J-2
  • Copy of marriage certificate for spouses with different last names
  • Two U.S. immigration-style photographs
  • Check or money order payable to "U.S. Department of Homeland Security"

Please keep a photocopy of the entire application package, including your check, for your records. Send the application via U.S. Post Office certified or overnight mail to:

USCIS Dallas Lockbox
PO Box 660867
Dallas, TX 75266

For the courier mailing service (e.g. FedEx or UPS) address, see USCIS filing information

Upon approval, USCIS will send the EAD to the address indicated on the Form I-765.  Processing can take up to 90 days.  After receiving the EAD, the J-2 must apply for a Social Security number.

Please note that if an extension of work permission is being requested, the new EAD must be received prior to the expiration of the current EAD in order to continue working uninterrupted.  Therefore, it is extremely important to file the renewal application 90 days in advance of the expiration.