J-2 Work Authorization

Dependents in J-2 status may apply for authorization to work in the United States. The money earned by a J-2 dependent may be for personal travel, recreational, or cultural activities. Work authorization processing times can vary, but generally take about 90 days.
If you would like the ISSO to review your application prior to mailing it, we recommend that you compile the required documents and make an appointment with your ISSO advisor.

To apply for J-2 work authorization, you will need to compile the following items:

  • Personal Check or Money Order payable to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security” in the amount of $410.00.
  • 2 color photographs – Must meet USCIS color photograph specifications. Note: Lightly print your full name in pencil on the back of each photograph and enclose them in a small envelope to attach to the application. Do not cut photographs!
  • USCIS Form I-765 (download) – Print neatly in BLOCK letters using blue ink or fill out the application on-line before printing.
    • For item 3 – U.S. mailing address, please provide an address that will be valid for at least 3 months
    • Note that questions 9 – 13 allow you to concurrently apply for a U.S. Social Security Number (SSN) if you do not already have one issued
    • In item 19, write “J-2 Dependent” [This is also likely what you will need to write in item 18 unless you have changed to J-2 from another status]
    • In item 20, write “(c)(5)( )”
  • J-2 statement – Provide a brief statement stating that the funding of the J-1 spouse (or parent) is sufficient to support the daily living expenses of the J-1 and any dependents in the U.S. and explain the purpose for your employment request. Some examples might be: extra income to afford travel to cultural/historical locations in the U.S., pay for courses for improving English, or to be in a place to meet and get to know people in the U.S., etc.
  • J-2 immigration documents: Photocopies of the J-2′s Form(s) DS-2019, Form I-94, J-2 entry visa stamp, and passport identity page(s).
  • J-1 immigration documents: Photocopies of the J-1′s Form(s) DS-2019, Form I-94, J-1 entry visa stamp, and passport identity page(s).

Mailing Your Application

Assemble all items in the order listed above and make a copy for your records (highly recommended). Then, mail the original application to the USCIS Lockbox facility at the address below:

By Mail:
PO Box 660867
Dallas, TX 75266
By Express Mail or Courier Service:
2501 S. State Highway 121
Business Suite 400
Lewisville, TX 75067

It is strongly recommended that you send your application by Certified Mail with a Return Receipt requested from the U.S. Post Office. Use of U.S. Express Mail or a private courier such as Federal Express, DHL or UPS is also acceptable, as long as you use a service that will give you confirmation of delivery.

You may check the status of your application once you receive a receipt notice from USCIS. If you have a problem with your application, call the National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283 or 1-800-767-1833 (TTY).

Your work authorization must be approved by USCIS before you can begin employment. Once approved, USCIS will send you an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Employment is only authorized for the dates listed on the EAD. We recommend that you make a copy of your document for your records and forward a copy to the ISSO so that we can add it to the J-1 file.

Social Security Number

After receiving your EAD, you will be eligible to apply for a Social Security Number, which is necessary if you find a paid position in the U.S.

Extending your J-2 Work Authorization

If you wish to extend your J-2 work authorization, you will need to follow the procedure above to obtain a new EAD. You should also include a copy of any previous/current work authorizations. To ensure you do not have a gap in our employment, we recommend that you apply for the renewal at least 90 days prior to current EAD expiration date. Please note that the J-1′s extension of stay must be granted before you can submit any application to extend your work authorization.