J-2 Employment

J-2 Employment

This checklist is provided as a courtesy to J-2 dependents at UMass Amherst applying for employment authorization with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). It does not constitute legal advice.

Permission to work will not be authorized by USCIS if the employment is for the support of the J-1 exchange visitor. The money earned by a J-2 may be for J-2 travel, recreational, or cultural activities. If the income is needed to support the J-1, USCIS will not authorize employment.

The current processing time for J-2 work authorization applications is up to 90 days or longer. J-2 work authorization is generally granted for one year, or for the period you are authorized to stay in the United States, as indicated on the Form DS-2019 (if less than one year) of the J-1. However, if the Form DS-2019 is valid for more than one year, USCIS may, at its discretion, issue an employment authorization document (EAD) that is valid for a longer period. Requests for a longer validity period should be made in writing at the time of application. Enclose a cover letter requesting work authorization until the ending date on the Form DS-2019.

If you are preparing to submit a J-2 work permission application (Form I-765 and accompanying documents) to USCIS, please thoroughly review the checklist below. USCIS' instructions can be found here.

J-2 Employment

If you and the J-1 exchange visitor will remain in the United States after the end date of your current EAD, you must obtain an approval from USCIS for an extension of employment authorization to continue working. You cannot continue working if your EAD expires and your new EAD extension application is still pending with USCIS. J-2s are not eligible for the automatic 180-day extension of work authorization.

The J-1's DS-2019 extension must be granted before Form I-765 the J-2’s EAD extension application is submitted to USCIS. It is important to complete both the extension of stay and the extension of employment authorization procedures before the expiration date of the J-1's current Form DS-2019. The J-1’s department must request the DS-2019 extension on their behalf in UMass VIP.

The application procedure for an extension is the same as for your original permission. Send a copy of your current EAD along with the other required documents as outlined on the Application Process. Another EAD will be issued with new authorization dates.

When you request a Social Security number (SSN) on the I-765, you should receive it a few weeks after you receive the EAD.

If you did not request an SSN on Form I-765, after receiving your EAD, you will need to apply for a Social Security number by going in person to the Social Security Administration. See our SSN instructions here.

Earnings of J-2 visa holders are subject to U.S. Social Security taxes, as well as federal and state income taxes. See IRS Publication 519, "United States Tax Guide for Aliens," available from the IRS website.

  • Application fee. You may pay the fee with a money order, personal check, or cashier’s check payable to Department of Homeland Security.
  • Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization): The J-2 applicant should complete this form. We recommend typing the application using the fillable form to avoid errors on your EAD. In item 25, write "J-2 Dependent." In item 27, write "c" inside the first set of parentheses and "5" inside the second set. Leave the third set blank.
  • Form G-1145 (optional). Use this form to request an e-notification from USCIS when your application is received. Paperclip the form to the front of your application.
  • Two passport-style photographs that meet USCIS requirements: Print your name on the back of each photo. Photo specifications are listed in the I-765 instructions.
  • J-2 statement: On a separate piece of paper, the J-2 applicant should state that the work permission is not necessary to support the J-1 visa holder but is for other purposes (e.g., cultural, recreational, and travel expenses for the J-2).
  • J-2 immigration documents
    • Photocopies of the J-2's current and any previous Forms DS-2019
    • J-2 I-94 record (“Get most recent I-94”) OR photocopies of paper Form I-94 (front and back), if applicable.
    • J-2 visa stamp
    • J-2 passport identity page(s).
    • [If you are applying for an extension of your current EAD, include a copy of your current EAD (front and back) along with the paper slip it was attached to when you received it in the mail].
  • J-1 immigration documents and admission record
    • Photocopies of the J-1's Form DS-2019
    • Printout of the electronic I-94 admission record OR photocopies of paper Form I-94 (front and back), if applicable,
    • J-1 visa stamp
    • J-1 passport identity page(s).

MAKE COPIES OF EVERYTHING FOR YOUR OWN RECORDS BEFORE YOU SEND THE APPLICATION. You should ensure you mail your application with tracking.

Mailing the application to USCIS

There is no single mailing address for I-765 application code (c) (5). You will send your application to a USCIS lockbox, depending on the home address listed on your application. We strongly suggest that you send the application by certified mail or overnight express. Please note that there are two distinct USCIS mailing addresses, depending on whether you use U.S. Postal Service (USPS) or a mail courier (FedEx, DHL UPS). Visit the USCIS website to confirm the mailing address for Form I-765.

Please remember:

You may check the status of your application online once you receive a receipt notice from USCIS. If you have a problem with your application, call the National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283 or 1-800-767-1833 (TTY).

Your work permission will not be in effect until USCIS approves it. Once approved, USCIS will send you an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Make copies of both sides of the EAD when you receive it, and keep the paper slip it is attached to, as you will need it for any extension applications.