J-2 (Dependent) Work Authorization

The spouse and unmarried minor children (under the age of 21) of a J-1 student or a J-1 scholar are eligible for J-2 dependent status.

Important: Earnings by J-2 dependents may not be used to support the J-1 student or scholar. For more information, please the U.S. Department of State's "About the J-2 Visa" webpage

J-2 dependents of J-1 students and scholars are eligible for employment authorization during the J-1’s stay. Gather the following application materials to request employment authorization.

  • Form I-765 from the US Citizenship & Immigration Services. Follow the instructions for completing Form I-765.
  • A check or money order for $520.00 made payable to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Do not send cash. Do not write on the back of the check.
  • Copy of previous USCIS-issued employment authorization documents (EADs), if applicable.
  • Two passport-style photographs:
    • Color photos with a plain background taken no earlier than 30 days before sending the J-2 employment application to USCIS. Head coverings and hats are only acceptable due to religious beliefs and even then may not obscure any portion of the applicant’s face.
    • Using an black ink pen, lightly print the J-2’s name, birth date, and I-94 number on the back of the photos.
    • Place the photos in a clear plastic bag to attach to the application.
  • A letter written by the J-2 stating:
    • The money earned will not be used in any way to support the J-1 principal.
    • The reasons for requesting employment authorization, such as paying for the J-2’s education, recreation, cultural excursions, or development of professional expertise.
    • A sample letter is attached to this checklist.
  • Photocopies of the following for both the J-1 and J-2:
    • DS-2019’s
    • Passport pages showing photos, names, and birth dates
    • J visas (only the current one, or the most recently issued if expired)
    • I-94 cards (front and back with all colored stamps visible on the copy)

Before mailing this application, you may have it reviewed by an ISO advisor. Be sure to make copies of all documents submitted to USCIS. Staple all materials together and mail your application through the US Post Office by Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested to the correct address listed on the USCIS website.

About 10-14 days after your check is cashed, you will receive a Notice of Action which acts as a receipt for your application. The receipt will contact a routing number which you can use to check the status of your application.