J-2 visa-holders are eligible to work in the U.S. as long as they obtain an EAD (Employment Authorization Document) card from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Currently, EAD cards are taking 90-120 days to process. The J-2 spouse must be within the U.S. to submit an application for employment.
Please note that ISSO advisers are legally unable to review USCIS J-2 employment applications or supplemental documents. We can only provide the general guidance listed below. To apply, the J-2 will need the following documents:
- Completed I-765 Application Form
On item #9, leave blank if you do not yet have a Social Security number.
- Photocopy of electronic I-94 form - Printed from www.cbp.gov/I94
- Photocopy of J-2’s name page in passport (include any passport extension pages)
- Photocopy of J-2’s visa stamp in passport (not applicable for Canadians)
- Photocopy J-2’s DS-2019
- Photocopy previously issued EAD cards, if any
- Send check or money order payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (staple to I-765) .Visit the U.S. Dept of Homeland Security website for current fees.
- 2 American passport photos. Passport photo shops are generally able to take these types of photos. Print your name lightly in pencil on the back of each photo. Put the photos in an envelope and write “Photos” as well as your name and I-94 number on the envelope.
- Financial statement. Use this financial statement sample letter in support of your application. Insert your personal information into the areas of bold text.
- Proof of Marriage. Photocopy of marriage certificate, with certification of translation if not in English
- Photocopies of J-1 information (DS-2019, passport, J-1 visa stamp, and electronic I-94 Form)
*NOTE: As of July 2017, J-2s can request to apply for a social security card within the I-765 application for employment.
To receive an e-mail and/or a text message that your application has been accepted at USCIS, complete Form G-1145, E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance and clip it to the first page of your application.
Notice of Receipt
In two to four weeks you should receive a “notice of receipt” from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Keep this notice of receipt to track your application on DHS website.
Relocating to a Different Address
If you are planning to move while your application for J-2 work authorization is pending, make sure you do NOT change your address with the Post Office until you have received your EAD card (i.e. mail from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security cannot be forwarded to your new address).
Extension of the EAD card is possible, up to the end date of the J-1 principle's form DS-2019. Please note that the extension process also takes 90-120 days, so plan ahead if you want your employment to be continuous (without any gaps between work authorization periods).