J-2 dependents are eligible to apply to the United States Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) for employment authorization as long as the employment is not for the purpose of supporting the J-1. J-2s may begin employment after receiving an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from the USCIS.
To obtain the EAD, J-2s will first need to submit an application to the USCIS. The following items need to be included in the application:
- Form I-765 www.uscis.gov
- Form I-765 fee ($410.00USD)
- 2 photos – follow guidelines provided at: https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports/photos/photo-examples.html
- Copy of current DS-2019 for J-2
- Copy of current DS-2019 for J-1
- Copies of forms I-94 of both J-2 and J-1 - https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov
- Letter from J-2 stating why employment is desired, indicating source and amount of support for the principal participant (J-1), and specifically stating that the income derived from employment will not be used for the support of the J-1 exchange visitor.
Mail the application to the USCIS Phoenix Lockbox:
If mailing via U.S. Postal Service use:
P.O. Box 21281
Phoenix, AZ 85036
If mailing via FedEx, UPS, or any other non-U.S. Postal Service company, use:
1820 E. Skyharbor Circle S, Suite 100
Phoenix, AZ 85034
Length and Type of Employment:
If permission for employment is granted, the J-2 is eligible to work in any type of full-time or part-time employment for the period of time listed on the EAD. Generally, the USCIS will use the coverage period end date of the J-1 (listed in box #3 of the DS-2019) as the employment end date for the EAD. If the J-1 extends their program end date, J-2s will need to submit another application (along with a new fee) to USCIS to be authorized to work past their current EAD end date. The J-1’s extension must be approved prior to a J-2 submitting a new employment authorization application to the USCIS. If the J-2’s current EAD expires before the new EAD card arrives, employment must be stopped. Employment is only authorized for the dates listed on the EAD.
J-2s are subject to social security taxes, federal income taxes, and where applicable, state income taxes.