J-2 Dependent Employment

Employment Authorization Documents (J-2 work permits) are obtained from USCIS. Application processing takes an average of 3 months.  Employment may not begin until the J-2 has received an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). 

Who is eligible to apply?

J-2 dependents may apply for permission to accept employment, provided the income from such employment will be used solely for the benefit of the dependent(s). The earnings may be used for recreation, cultural enrichment, travel, education, or any other purpose NOT related to the needs of the principal J-1 visitor. Employment will not be authorized by USCIS if income is needed to support the J-1 visitor. [8 CFR 214.2(j)(1)(v)(A)].

Requirements:

  • J-1 must be in a legal status at the time of application. This includes having an unexpired passport, and an I-94 which is marked as D/S or with a date of expiry in the future.
  • J-1 must also be pursuing the objective for which s/he was admitted (i.e. full-time enrollment, research, etc.).
  • The J-2 dependent must have an unexpired passport, an I-94 which is marked as D/S or with a date of expiry in the future, and not be or have been engaged in any unauthorized employment while in the United States.

What is the maximum time period that I will be allowed to work?

  • J-2 dependents with employment authorization may work until the date on the EAD card or until the J-1 completes his or her program, whichever is earlier.  
  • J-2 dependents may apply to renew work authorization as long as the J-1 visitor remains in status.  If the J-1 extends his/her program, the J-2 dependent must re-apply for work authorization once the extension has been granted.

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Can I travel while my application is pending?

International travel is not recommended. The application could be denied since the applicant does not hold a U.S. immigration status while abroad and is therefore ineligible for any status-associated benefits, including the EAD.

How do I apply for an extension?

You must re-apply. Employment cannot continue beyond the end date on the EAD.  If you are still eligible for work authorization but your EAD is expiring or has expired, you should file for a renewal EAD by submitting a Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.  Similar to the process when you initially applied. Extensions of the EAD are possible, up to the end date on the DS-2019.

If the J-1 extends his/her program, the J-2 dependent must re-apply for work authorization once the J-1 program extension has been granted. Please note that the EAD extension process also takes an average of 3 months, so plan ahead if employment needs to be continuous (without any gaps between work authorization periods). However, you cannot file for a renewal EAD more than 120 days before your original EAD expires.