Employment of J-2 Dependents
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may grant an individual in J-2 visa status permission for employment in the United States. J-2 visa holders are not eligible to be employed until they have received employment authorization from USCIS in the form of an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Authorized dates of employment for J-2 visa holders are noted on the EAD and usually match the dates on the Form DS-2019. Once an application has been received by USCIS, it may take 4-6 months to be approved. We advise that you make a photocopy of your entire employment authorization application for your own records before mailing it to USCIS.
Employment Authorization Application Checklist
Please note, USCIS does NOT accept applications for J-2 work permission online. To request this work authorization, you must follow the instructions below to prepare and mail a hard copy application to USCIS.
When applying for J-2 work permission, the J-2 visa holder must provide:
- a completed Form I-765 signed in black ink by the J-2 visa holder. Click here for instructions on how to complete the Form I-765.
- A copy of the J-2's I-94 print out
- A copy of the J-1's I-94 print out
- photocopies of both the J-1's and the J-2's most recent Forms DS-2019
- photocopies of the personal data (photo) page of the J-1's and J-2's passports
- photocopy of most recent U.S. visas in the J-1's and the J-2's passports (not applicable to Canadian citizens)
- a $410 check or money order made payable to the "Department of Homeland Security" (as of April 1, 2024 fee increase to $520 for a paper filing)
- a written statement requesting J-2 work authorization
- proof of marriage to the J-1 visa holder (e.g. marriage license)
- two U.S. passport-sized photographs with photograph specifications
- a photocopy of the J-2's previous EAD (if this is an extension application)*
*For an extension of your work permission, you should apply as early as possible but no more than 180 days before your current employment authorization expires. J-2 visa holders may not apply for an extension of their employment authorization until the J-1 visa holders have their status extended. If the extension hasn’t been approved by USCIS, the J-2 visa holder must stop working once the initial EAD expires.
Submitting your J-2 Employment Authorization Application
To complete the application process, you must mail the completed application materials to the USCIS. Please note the two different addresses depending on the shipping method used.
For certified or regular mail:
P.O. Box 4115
Carol Stream, IL 60197-4115
For express mail or courier service:
Attn: NFB (Box 4115)
2500 Westfield Drive
Elgin, IL 60124-7836
Note: It is advisable to mail the application from a U.S. Post Office by "certified mail or return receipt requested," and to make photocopies of the entire application for your own records. If you have any questions, please connect with an HIO advisor during our daily virtual advisor on call hours or contact the HIO at 617-495-2789.
J-2 Social Security Number and Taxes
You may choose to apply for Social Security Number (SSN) for tax purposes during the J-2 employment authorization application process. There is a section on the I-765 that you may complete to request that the government assigns you an SSN while processing your employment authorization. We recommend using this service, as it will result in you obtaining an SSN faster.
Once you receive J-2 work authorization, you may also choose to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) if you did not do so on your I-765 application. You may find instructions on the Social Security Numbers page of the HIO website.
Income earned by J-2 dependents is subject to federal and state income taxes as well as Social Security and Medicare taxes (FICA).