J-2 Work Authorization
Who May Apply?
J-2 dependents, the spouse or child of a J-1, may apply to the U.S.Department of Homeland Security's Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) for permission to accept employment. CIS usually grants employment authorization, if the application is complete when they receive it.
How do I Apply?
The following items must be collected, prepared, and sent to the CIS:
A Completed and Signed Form I-765.
The following information may be of assistance:
Part 1. Reason for Applying (page 1)
I Am Applying For:
- 1.a. Check the box indicating you are applying for "Initial permission to accept employment".
- 1.c. Should only be checked for extension of current EAD.
Your U.S. Mailing Address (page 2)
Leave this blank at this time. We will discuss your options at your appointment with your International Student Advisor.
U.S. Physical Address
Please enter your current home/apartment address.
Alien Registration Number (A-Number) – complete ONLY if you have applied for the EAD before.
13.a. DVS recommends that you apply for your Social Security card independently of this application if you do not have an SSN yet.
14. Per above check “No” and skip to 18.a.
Information About Your Last Arrival in the United States (page 3)
21.a. Enter the date of your MOST RECENT entry into the United States. Check your I-94 admissions record for the exact date. If the most recent entry is from Canada or Mexico and your I-94 card was not re-issued, then check the passport for a date stamp.
23. Provide the name of the city and state in the United States where you MOST RECENTLY arrived. Again, check your electronic I-94 “Travel History” if you cannot remember.
24. If you entered the United States as a J-2 dependent, then write "J-2 dependent." If you entered in a different visa category, then consult with an International Student Advisor to be sure.
25. Enter "J-2" into this field.
26. Located on the top right corner of your DS-2019 form.
Information About Your Eligibility Category
27. The appropriate category: (c)(5)
Do not complete 28, 29, 30 and 31.
Part 3. Applicant’s Statement, Contact Information, Declaration, Certification, and Signature (page 4)
This is a very important section and you must read the information given carefully. Please note that:
- You MUST be in the United States while the I-765 is filed and received by USCIS
- You also are declaring that all the information provided on the application is true, correct, has been reviewed, understood, and completed by you
7.a; 7b. Do not forget to sign, and record the date (mm/dd/yyyy) on the I-765.
Do not complete Part 4, Part 5.
Part 6. Additional Information
To be completed only if you answered YES to question 12.
Provide a list of all previous EAD approvals
2. Record the A-number (USCIS#) for any prior EAD(s)
Additional information required to support the I-765 application:
- A letter addressed to CIS from the applicant indicating the reasons why work authorization is requested. The letter should truthfully state that the income from the employment is not needed for the support of the J-1 principal and J-2 dependents. Reasons for applying for employment authorization vary and may include but are not limited to: educational and cultural activities for the J-2 spouse and children; additional money for travel in the US; or the J-2 dependent's desire to be more involved in US work, business, and cultural activities.
- Obtain two (2) passport-style photographs (see photo specifications). The photos should be taken within 30 days before submission of the J-2 application to USCIS.
- A photocopy of the J-1 principal's current Form DS-2019.
- A photocopy of the J-1 principal's I-94 admissions record.
- A photocopy of the I-94 admission record of the J-2 who is requesting work authorization.
- A photocopy of marriage certificate. If the certificate is not in English, a notarized English translation must be provided.
- A check or money order for $410 made payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Money orders can be obtained from area post offices, banks, and some convenience stores.
- A photocopy of your passport pages that contain the biographical information, as well as the expiration date. When ALL items have been collected and completed bring them to Duke Visa Services or send them directly to the CIS office in Texas (see the address below). If you choose to send them in yourself, we strongly recommend that your keep a photocopy of all items sent and that documents be mailed by certified mail with return receipt requested so that CIS must sign for delivery and confirm that they have received the application.
For USPS (United States Postal Service) deliveries:
PO Box 660867
Dallas, TX 75266
For express mail and courier deliveries:
2501 S. State Hwy. 121 Business
Lewisville, TX 75067
The CIS has recently established new processing procedures for the issuance of Employment Authorization Document, Form I-766. We estimate it will take at least 3-4 months for the application to be processed by CIS. Once the CIS in Texas issues the card they usually mail to the mailing address on the I-765 application.
How Long May I Work?
A J-2 may work only until the date authorized on the Employment Authorization Document or until the J-1 completes his or her program and returns home, whichever comes first. USCIS will authorize J-2 employment for the duration of the J-1’s authorization or a period of four years, whichever is shorter, per 8 CFR Part 214.2(j)(1)(v)(B). A J-2 may not remain in the US after the J-1 leaves since the J-2 status is totally dependent on the J-1 status. If the J-1 changes to another status such as H-1B, the J-2 loses J-2 status and work permission ends.
May I Extend My Work Authorization?
If the J-1 is still in status you can apply to extend your work authorization by repeating the application process described above and including a photocopy of the current Employment Authorization Document with the items you send to the CIS. Remember that it takes three to four months for extension approval. Be sure to apply early so as not to have a gap in employment authorization. If you are currently working at Duke, and your current EAD has expired, you are required to show your new EAD before continuing to work.