J-2 Visas: Working in the U.S.

J-2 visa holders (the spouses and dependent children of J-1's) may apply to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for permission to work in the United States. Title 8, Code of Federal Regulations, part 214.2(j)(1(v) states that, "income from the spouse's or dependent's employment may be used to support the family's customary recreational and cultural activities and related travel, among other things. Employment will not be authorized if this income is needed to support the J-1 principal alien."

Application Procedures

The application for J-2 employment authorization includes:

  • A letter to USCIS, explaining the reason for requesting employment authorization. (See the sample PDF)
  • Completed Form I-765
    (Caution: Use the paper form only. DO NOT submit online.)
  • All copies of DS-2019 forms and I-94 numbers for both J-1 and J-2 visa holders
  • A copy of your J-2 visa stamp in the passport, and the passport page with your photo and information
  • A personal check or money order for $380 payable to US Department of Homeland Security. (A personal check is preferable because, if necessary, you will be able to determine if it has been cashed.) 
  • Two passport type color photographs. You should print your name lightly in pencil on the back of the two photographs (include the number on your previous EAD if you have one).

*If you have applied for an EAD before, a photocopy of your Employment Authorization Document (back and front)

The application and all of the required documentation must be sent to the USCIS Service Center Lockbox facility. Those with addresses in AL, AR, CT, DE, FL, GA, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MS, NH, NJ, NM, NY, PA, PR, RI, VT, VA, US Virgin Islands, WV and DC will send their application to:

By Courier Service (FedEx, DHL, UPS):
2501 S. State Hwy. 121
Business Suite 400
Lewisville, TX 75067

By U.S. Postal Service:
PO Box 660867
Dallas, TX 75266

Those with addresses in other states can read the I-765 instructions on where to mail their applications.

Make sure your keep a copy of all the documents you submit.

After mailing in the documents, you will receive a notice (Form I-797) stating you need to wait for about 80 days to receive your EAD. This is your receipt, so take care not to lose it.

Remember, you cannot begin your employment until you have received the Employment Authorization Document (EAD card) from USCIS. If you are applying for a renewal of your J-2 work permission you cannot work beyond the previously authorized date until you receive a new EAD.

Anyone who earns money in the United States must have a social security number for taxpayer identification purposes. The Office of International Students and Scholars can provide you with instructions on applying for a social security number. J-2 visa holders are subject to social security taxes, federal income taxes and, where applicable, state and local income taxes.


Related Links

J-2 Immigration Status

More Resources

J-2 Work Authorization Information

Caution: Use the paper form only. DO NOT submit online.

PDF Documents

J-2 Work Authorization