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J-2 Dependent Work Permission

General Advice and Information

J-2 dependents are granted permission to work by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), provided the income from such employment is not for the support of the J-1 student or scholar. In order to obtain work permission, the J-2 dependent must state that there are already sufficient funds to cover the educational and living expenses of the J-1 student or scholar and dependents. For example, employment may be used to support the family's customary recreational and cultural activities and related travel, among other things.

Note: It is against the law to work without permission from USCIS. In addition, income earned by J-2 dependents is subject to Federal, State and Social Security taxes.

Application Procedure

  1. Prepare cover letter. The cover letter, written by the J-2 dependent, should be addressed to the “U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.” It should be brief stating: (1) why the employment is desired (2) the J-1 has adequate funds to cover living and/or school expenses (3) that money earned will not be used to support the J-1 student or scholar.
  2. Complete and sign Form I-765 (download the form here). The code to be entered in item # 16 is ( c ) ( 5 ) ( - ). USCIS will send a response to the address listed on the Form I-765. Normally a response is received in about 3-4 months. NOTE: If you move, mail cannot be forwarded to a new address by the Post Office. Be sure the address you use will be valid until you receive a response or notify the service center of your address if you move.
  3. Fee: write a check (or money order) for $380 to DHS/USCIS. Paperclip the required fee to the I-765.
  4. Make clear, legible photocopies of the following. Do not send originals:
    • Form I-94 of J-2 applicant (both sides); 
    • Form I-94 of J-1 scholar or student (both sides);
    • Form DS-2019 for J-1 scholar (with valid dates on item #3);
    • Form DS-2019 for J-2 dependent;
    • Picture page of passport of J-2 applicant;
    • If this is an application for an extension of J-2 work permission, include a copy of your previous Employment Authorization Document (work card).
    Notice on Extension Requents: you may not work after your current card expires and until your new card arrives.
  5. Obtain two photographs. (See below for instructions).
  6. If you have a job offer, include a letter from your future employer with your application and write on the bottom left corner of the envelop: “Expedite: Job Offer Pending”. This may help expedite your application.
  7. Mail Form I-765, the fee, Form G-1145 (optional for electronic notification), and all the above materials to the address in the I-765 instructions.

Consult with an immigration coordinator in the Office of International Affairs if you have questions or require assistance with this application. Our phone number is (614) 292-6101.

USCIS Response

J-2 applicant can expect a response from USCIS in about 3-4 months. If the work permit is approved, USCIS will issue the Employment Authorization Document (EAD). If the application is denied, USCIS will reply indicating reason(s) for denial. Fee is not refundable. USCIS will send the EAD to the address indicated on Form I-765.

Important Note: The name of the J-2 dependent MUST be on the mailbox or the Postal Service will not deliver the card. Also, mail from USCIS may not be forwarded to a new address by the Postal Service—you must notify USCIS of any address changes directly.

Required Photos

Photos can be taken at:

  • CVS Drugstore on Neil Avenue
  • Cord Camera
  • Meijers
  • Kinko's

For photo specifications, please visit here. Lightly print your name and your I-94# in pencil on the back of each photo.