J-2 dependents are eligible to work in the U.S. as long as they meet certain conditions first.
J-2 dependents can work in the U.S. as long as you meet certain conditions first. You must apply for and receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD card) from the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS). Also, your employment must not be for the purpose of supporting your J-1 spouse.
You cannot start working until you receive your EAD card from the USCIS. You are eligible to work as long as the EAD card is valid (meaning the work authorization dates on the card have not expired, your J-1’s status has not expired and your J-1 has not left the U.S. except for a temporary visit.)
No. While the EAD card is valid, you are eligible to work full or part-time.
No. You can work on-campus or off-campus in any field of work.
Submit the following documents to USCIS:
Be sure to photocopy your entire Employment Authorization application for your personal records.
Visit the USCIS I-765 Direct Filing Address for the current lockbox mailing address. Be sure to click on "Foreign Students".
You should use a reliable, express delivery service (e.g. UPS, FedEx) to mail your application. Utilizing an express delivery service will enable you to track your application and its delivery. Please save your receipt.
Processing time at the USCIS is estimated to be 6-12 weeks. However, processing times vary widely depending on the time of year and the workload at the Service Center to which you send your application. You can check the USCIS website for current processing times.
You cannot begin employment until you have received your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from the USCIS and the “start date” printed on the EAD card is effective.
Planning to contact USCIS? Be sure to review their tip sheet to help make your communication with USCIS as effective as possible.
The USCIS can issue an EAD for a long as four years or for the duration of the J-1’s program, whichever period is shorter. However, the USCIS has the authority to issue the EAD for a shorter period of time. The validity of the EAD card may not exceed the J-1’s program termination date or end date—even though it is still valid on its face.
If your EAD card expires, you will have to stop working until you receive a new EAD card.
In order to avoid any interruption in J-2 employment authorization, it is important to submit a new Form I-765 request to the USCIS prior to the expiration of your current EAD, if you are eligible. The earliest you can submit your application is 120 days before the end date on your current EAD card.
If your DS-2019 will expire at the same time as the EAD card, and your J-1 spouse has not yet completed their academic program, then the J-1 must apply for and receive an extension of stay. Once a new DS-2019 is issued, the J-2 spouse can apply to extend their work authorization.
When you receive your EAD card, you will be able to apply for a Social Security Card. For more information on applying for a Social Security Card our SSN page.
In addition to paying federal and state income taxes, you will also have to pay Social Security taxes.