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 up to four months to be approved. We advise that you make a photocopy of your entire employment authorization application for your own record before mailing it to USCIS.
Applying for Employment Authorization
Do not apply online. While this is an option there are many problems with the process.
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
- a $410 check or money order made payable to the "Department of Homeland Security" (Note: as of October 2, 2020, the fee will increase to $550)
- a written statement requesting J-2 work authorization
- proof of marriage to the J-1 visa holder (e.g. marriage license, family book, etc)
- two 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.
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:
Dallas, TX 75266
For express mail or courier service:
USCIS ATTN: AOS
2501 S. State Hwy. 121
Business Suite 400
Lewisville, TX 75067
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 contact the HIO at 617-495-2789.
J-2 Social Security Number and Taxes
Once you receive J-2 work authorization, you must apply for a Social Security Number (SSN). Take your passport, Form I-94, both your Form DS-2019 and the J-1's Form DS-2019, and your EAD to one of the following Social Security Administration offices between 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
10 Fawcett Street, 1st floor
Cambridge, MA 02138
From the Harvard Square T station, take the 78 or 74 bus to Fawcett Street.
10 Causeway Street, Room 148, 1st floor
Boston, MA 02222
Take the Green or Orange Line to North Station; the office is in the Thomas P. O'Neill Building.
At the Social Security Administration Office you must take a number at the entrance in order to be helped. After you complete and hand in the SSN application form, you will receive notification of your SSN in the mail. The process usually takes from four to eight weeks. You may call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 or visit the Social Security Administration website with any questions.
Income earned by J-2 dependents is subject to federal and state income taxes as well as Social Security and Medicare taxes (FICA).