J-2 Dependent Employment

General Information

In most circumstances, the J-2 spouse of a J-1 exchange visitor may apply for employment authorization. The J-2 spouse and primary J-1 exchange visitor must have maintained lawful immigration status to be eligible for employment authorization. This employment authorization is valid for any number of hours per week, may be in any field of endeavor and is generally unrestricted as long as the conditions of the employment are consistent with applicable labor laws.

Application Process

To apply for employment authorization, the J-2 dependent must submit the following documents to the USCIS Lockbox facility that has jurisdiction over the area in which the dependent resides:

  • Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization
  • I-765 filing fee (currently $410.00 USD) – Payable to: Department of Homeland Security
  • Two passport style photos
  • Letter from the J-2 dependent that includes a statement that the employment will not serve to support the principal J-1 exchange visitor
  • Copies of J-1 exchange visitor’s financial support documents (used to verify that J-2 employment is not necessary to support principal J-1 exchange visitor)
  • Copies of the J-2 dependent spouse’s:
    • DS-2019 form
    • Passport (biographical and issuance/expiration information)
    • I-94 card (front and back)
    • Visa (most recent, if available)
    • Copies of any previously issued Employment Authorization Documents
  • Copies of the principal J-1 student’s:
    • DS-2019 form(s)
    • Passport (biographical and issuance/expiration information)
    • I-94 card (front and back)
    • Visa (most recent, if available)

The J-2 dependent initiates the application by mailing the above documentation with the application to USCIS.

Filing Address

I-765 applications for J-2 work authorization that list an address in Indiana or Michigan should be sent to the following address:


P.O. Box 21281
Phoenix, AZ 85036

Attn: AOS
1820 E. Skyharbor Circle S
Suite 100
Phoenix, AZ 85034

Processing Notes

  • Current USCIS processing time is approximately 2-3 months.
  • Employment authorization is granted for employment for any number of hours per week.
  • Employment authorization is granted in 12-month intervals and is renewable for the duration of the primary J-1 student’s program and any subsequent Academic Training.
  • Employment is not required to be related to any field of study or endeavor.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Employment may not begin until J-2 dependent receives EAD and start date has passed.

Revised 1/14/2018