J-2 Work Authorization


Upon arrival in the U.S., J-2 dependents are eligible to apply to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for authorization to work in the United States. You may not be employed until you receive authorization in the form of an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).


This application must be completed and signed by the J-2 dependent requesting work authorization once they've arrived in the U.S.  A complete application will include:

  1. Two (2) 2x2 passport style photos taken within 30 days of the application. You must write your name and I-94 number on the back of both photos lightly, in pencil or felt pen.
  2. Bank check, money order or a personal check from a U.S. bank in the amount of $410.00. Make check payable to: U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
  3. Form G-1445, E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance. You will receive an e-mail or text message informing your that the USCIS has received your application. This form is optional.
  4. Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. Type form or neatly handwrite in black ink. Sign in black ink. Check the box: Permission to accept employment. The code for item 27 is: (c)(5). IMPORTANT: Your mailing address should be valid for at least 120 days. USPS will not forward government mail, even if you change your address with the post office and sign up for forwarding mail service.
  5. A written statement requesting J-2 work authorization specifically stating that income from your earnings will not be used for the J-1's support and documenting that the J-1 has sufficient resources for supporting the whole family and will not be dependent on your earnings. Give reasons for wanting to work. You may consult this sample letter.
  6. Photocopy of identity (photo) page of both the J-2's and J-1's passports, including expiration dates.
  7. Photocopy of most recent U.S. visa in the J-2's and J-1's passports.
  8. Photocopy of all J-2's and J-1's DS-2019 forms.
  9. Photocopy of the most recent admission stamps from J-2's and J-1's passports and the electronic admission (I-94) printouts.  You may retrieve these from the CBP website.
  10. Photocopies of current and previous Employment Authorization Documents (EAD) (if applicable).
  11. Photocopy of the Marriage Certificate, accompanied by a certified English translation (if not in English).                                                                                                                                                       

If you would like to have your J-2 Employment Authorization Application reviewed by the Davis International Center before submitting it to the USCIS, please come during student (if your spouse is a student) or scholar (if your spouse is a scholar) our advising hours.


It is recommended that you mail your application to the USCIS by certified mail, return receipt requested or by express mail/courier service that will confirm delivery.  Please visit the USCIS Filing Addresses page for instructions regarding where to mail your application.


Processing time may be up to or beyond 90 days. You can view the processing times on the USCIS website. The confirmation, along with the receipt number, that your application has been received by USCIS will be mailed to the mailing address you provided on the I-765 form. You may use the confirmation number to view and check the progress of your application at the USCIS website.


You cannot begin employment until after you have received your employment authorization from the USCIS. The EAD is an identification card laminated in plastic, with your photograph indicating the period of time for which you have been given employment authorization. When you begin to work, your employer will ask you to complete a Form I-9 and to present proof of identity and employment authorization. 

You may work part-time or full-time at any job for any employer. You do not need to have a job to apply for J-2 employment authorization. J-2 foreign medical graduates who will be working as physicians should check with their future employer as to whether or not J-2 status is acceptable for employment with them.


You may either apply for a Social Security Number jointly with the I-765 application, or once you have received employment authorization, you may apply for a U.S. Social Security Number (SSN).