Apply for J-2 Dependent Employment

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may grant a J-2 dependent permission to accept employment in the United States.

Application process

After entering the United States, you can request for employment authorization (by mail) with USCIS.

  1. Collect the required application documents, listed below.
    Be sure to make photocopies of your entire application for your records.
  2. Mail all of the required documents to the appropriate USCIS Service Center.
    The address can be found in the I-765 Instructions. It is advisable to mail the application from a U.S. Post Office by “certified mail/return receipt requested."
  3. Wait for authorization.
    Do not accept employment until after you have received employment authorization from USCIS and have been issued an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). After USCIS has received the application, it may take three months or more to be approved.

Note: Authorized employment for individuals in J-2 status is limited to the dates documented by USCIS on the EAD and the end-date usually matches the expiration date on the DS-2019.

Application materials checklist

Include the following documents in your application.

  • Completed Form I-765
    Note: Always download and use the most recent I-765 directly from Using an outdated form will result in your application being returned or rejected
  • Check or money order payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in the amount listed for I-765 processing
    Note: If using a check for payment, name and address must be printed on the check. Temporary checks are not accepted.
  • Letter to USCIS explaining reason requesting employment authorization (View sample letter)
  • Copies of both J-1 and J-2 DS-2019s (Do not send the originals.)
  • Copy of J-2 visa stamp in passport
  • Copy of J-2's biographical page in passport
  • Copies of both J-1 and J-2's I-94 records (Do not send the originals)
  • Two U.S. passport-style photos, with your name and I-94 number printed on the back of each
    (Visit CVS or Walgreens to get new photos taken-- photos must be less than 6 months old)
  • Copy of Marriage Certificate
    Note: If the certificate is not in English, please provide a translation, either translated by yourself or by someone else. Include a statement to the effect that the person translating the document is fluent in both English and the language of the original certificate and that they certify that the translation is true and accurate.
  • Copies of any previously issued EAD cards (if re-applying for J-2 employment authorization)