Procedure for J-2 Visa Holders to Request Work Permission

J-2 visa-holders are authorized 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 up to 90 to 120 days to process.

To apply for an EAD card, you must file a paper application by mail to the USCIS. J-2 visitors are not eligible for online filing of the I-765. Also, you must be inside the USA when applying for the EAD, to prevent your I-765 from being considered 'abandoned' by the USCIS, we advise you to remain in the USA until the EAD is issued.

You will need the following documents:

  • Completed (paper version) of the Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization
  • For item #13.b of the form, please leave blank if you do not yet have a Social Security number and check “Yes” on item #14 to get your SSN.
  • For item #27, enter: "(C)(5)( )”
  • Photocopy of J-2’s electronic I-94 Form
  • 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
  • A check or money order payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (staple to I-765) .
  • NOTE: U.S. Department of Homeland Security fees are subject to change, please use the fee indicated on the Form I-765 page.
  • 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)

For Overnight or Courier Delivery (strongly recommended), please use a service such as FedEx Next Day, UPS, etc. If using the United States Post Office (USPS) to mail your application, using “Certified Mail” is recommended.

Please be sure to mail your documents to the correct Lockbox address based on the mailing method you select. If you used USPS you will send the application to a different address than you would use if mailing via a service like FedEx

Additional Considerations


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).