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 (USCIS) for permission to accept employment. USCIS 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 USCIS. There are 2 ways to file the I-765 application:

Preparing your I-765

Please click here for detailed instructions for the Form I-765. Please also pay close attention to the instructions listed on the paper I-765 or in the online version of the I-765.

Paper Application:

Please click here and scroll down to the "Forms and Document Downloads" section to download the PDF Form I-765. You must use this version of the I-765. You may handwrite, type, or use a combination of both on the paper I-765. You must include a check or money order issued by a U.S. bank.

All typing and/or handwriting on the paper I-765 must be in BLACK INK. An original, hand-written signature in BLACK INK is required (no e-signatures).

As of 2/18/2022, the mailing addresses are:

FedEx and DHL deliveries:

Attn: NFB (Box 660867)
2501 S. State Hwy. 121 Business
Suite 400
Lewisville, TX 75067-8003

U.S. Postal Service (USPS):

Attn: NFB
P.O. Box 660867
Dallas, TX 75266-0867

The following information may be of assistance:

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.

If you are certain that you will remain at your current address until the card arrives from Homeland Security (potentially 3-5 months from the time of filing), then you are free to use your home address as the mailing address. If, however, there is a chance that you may move before the card is issued, we then recommend that you use the address for Duke Visa Services as the mailing address. If you would like to use the office address, please contact your Duke Visa Services advisor for additional guidance on how to list the address on the form.

Please enter your current home/apartment address.

Alien Registration Number (A-Number) – complete ONLY if you have previously applied for the EAD before.

13.a. if you choose to request a Social Security Number, you should use your mailing address on the I-765 application. The Social Security card will be mailed to your address. Discuss this option with your DVS advisor.

14. if you decide not to request a Social Security Number per above, check “No” and skip to 18.a.

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. Do not print your entry and exit dates. Print the most recent I-94.

23. Provide the name of the city and state in the United States where you MOST RECENTLY arrived. This is normally listed on your most recent electronic I-94. You can also check the “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. The SEVIS number is located on the top right corner of your DS-2019 form.

27. The J-2 status category: (c)(5)

J-2s are not required to complete 28, 29, 30 and 31.

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. If you are mailing the application, do not use an electronic signature.

J-2 Applicants Are Normally Not Required To Complete Part 4 or Part 5.


To be completed only if you answered YES to question 12.

If applicable, provide a list of all previous EAD approvals

2. If applicable, 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(link is external)). 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, contact your Duke Visa Services advisor by telephone or email if you have questions. When you mail the information, we strongly recommend that your keep a photocopy of all items sent and that documents be mailed by Fedex or DHL so you can receive confirmation of delivery.

Processing Procedures

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 3-5 months for the application to be processed by USCIS. Once the USCIS 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 USCIS. Remember that it takes three to five 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.