J-2 dependents are eligible to apply for permission to work from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) by submitting a Form I-765. If approved, USCIS will issue an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). The J-2 dependent may begin employment only after receiving the EAD card.
The regulation states that employment may not be granted when the earnings are to be used to support the J-1 visa holder. Rather, the earnings must be used for the “Family's customary recreational and cultural activities and those related travel”. Source: 8CFR 21A.2(j)(1) (v) (A)
- G-1145, E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance
- USCIS Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization – Mark (c) (5) on item #16. Make sure you sign the form clearly and do not date until you are ready to mail your documents. Submit the appropriate fee. (Please check on the USCIS web site for the latest version of the form and the base fee.)
- Two (2) photos meeting the specifications noted on Form I-765 instructions. Write your name and SEVIS number (found on the upper right corner of your Form DS-2019) on the back of the photos, lightly, with a pencil, put the photos in a small envelope and staple the envelope (not photos) to the Form I-765.
- Photocopies of the passport’s personal data page, photo page, and visa page.
- A photocopy of the J-1 visa holder's paper or print-out of electronic Form I-94 (please click on the link for instructions) and Form DS- 2019.
- A photocopy of the J-2 visa holder's paper or print-out of electronic Form I-94 (please click on the link for instructions) and Form DS-2019.
- A written statement explaining that the J-2 employment is not necessary to support the J-1, but will be used for the needs of the J-2. We recommend that your statement include the following sentence: “The income derived from the desired employment will be used to support myself in cultural and recreational activities and not my J-1 spouse”.
Submitting the EAD Application to USCIS
Refer to the USCIS I-765 instructions for the correct USCIS mailing address. The address you use on the I-765 will determine which USCIS service center you mail the application. The International Center does not recommend using the e-file option.
- Within 2-3 weeks you should receive a notice confirming that your application has been received and informing you approximately how long the processing period is likely to be. You will receive a case number, which you may use to check updated information on the status of your application on the USCIS web site.
- After your application has been processed, you will receive the Employment Authorization Document (EAD card). You can then take the card to a Social Security Administration Office and apply for a Social Security card. In Ann Arbor, the Social Security Administration office is located at 3971 Research Park Drive, Ann Arbor, MI 48108.
Your EAD card is only valid during the dates listed on the card. To work past these dates, you must re-apply, including a copy of your current EAD card (front and back) with the application.