J-2 Work Authorization

Permission to work will be authorized by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) if the employment is for support of the J-2 spouse and/or minor children in the United States but not for the support of the J-1 Exchange Visitor. If the income is needed to support the J-1 Exchange Visitor, USCIS will not authorize employment.

How to Apply

In order to apply for J-2 work permission, you first prepare the following checklist of items.

Checklist of documents to be mailed to USCIS:
(Please put together your application in the following order.  Do not staple your documents.)

  • Check or Money Order for $410 made payable to "US Department of Homeland Security" OR Form G-1450 with credit card information
    (In the memo line of the check/money order, please write "Form I-765" and your SEVIS ID number.)
  • (Optional) To receive a text message and/or email when USCIS accepts your Form I-765, complete Form G-1145, E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance. You will also receive a physical receipt notice in the mail.
  • 2 passport photos less than 30 days old
    (Write your name and SEVIS # number in pencil or felt pen lightly on the back and towards the bottom of each photo -- so as to not damage the photos or have writing appear on the face of the photo. Paper clip photos on top of Form I-765.  Further information is available at https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports/photos.html).
  • Original I-765 form application (https://www.uscis.gov/i-765, use most recent edition, read all the I-765 Instructions, type your form instead of handwrite, sign in black ink, please keep a photocopy for your records)
  • Photocopies of J-2 immigration documents:
    • DS-2019 (first page only)
    • I-94 card (front and back) or electronic I-94 Form as PDF
      (retrieve the I-94 number from https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/)
    • passport identity and expiration pages (including full name, photo, passport number, birth date, passport issue and expiration dates)
    • J-2 visa stamp (even if the visa is expired) - NOTE: Does not apply to Citizens of Canada, who are not issued an J-2 visa issued by the U.S. Embassy/Consulate.
    • If you are applying for an extension of your current J-2 work permit EAD, include a copy of your current EAD (front & back) and copy of the slip it was attached to when you received it in the mail.
  • Photocopies of J-1 immigration documents:
    • DS-2019 (first page only)
    • I-94 card (front and back) or electronic I-94 Form as PDF 
      (retrieve the I-94 number from https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/)
    • passport identity and expiration pages (including full name, photo, passport number, birth date, passport issue and expiration dates)
    • J-1 visa stamp (even if the visa is expired) - NOTE: Does not apply to Citizens of Canada, who are not issued an J-2 visa issued by the U.S. Embassy/Consulate.
    • letter of admission to MIT or confirmation of current student status
    • financial support documentation (as listed on Form DS-2019) verifying current funding for stay at MIT (including funding to support J-2 dependents)
  • J-2 Statement: On a separate piece of paper, the J-2 applicant should state that "the money earned from employment will not be used to support the J-1 student, but rather is intended for other purposes (e.g. cultural, recreational, and travel expenses for the J-2 dependent)".  The J-2 applicant should also date and sign this letter.

TIP: make copies of everything you send!

Please mail your J-2 employment authorization application documents either via U.S. Postal Service (USPS) or via Private Courier Service (FedEx, DHL, UPS) to the address below (USCIS in Texas) ONLY if your physical address is within Massachusetts as stated on #7 of the I-765 form. Please read the I-765 Instructions at https://www.uscis.gov/i-765 for details regarding the I-765 form.

If your U.S. physical address in #7 of your I-765 form is NOT in Massachusetts, then please consult the filing instructions for the proper USCIS address to mail your OPT application:   https://www.uscis.gov/forms/forms-information/uscis-phoenix-and-dallas-lockbox-facilities

Via U.S. Postal Service (USPS) Deliveries (choose Express Mail or Priority Mail with Return Receipt) if your mailing address in #7 of I-765 form is in Massachusetts:

If your U.S. address is in Massachusetts and you use the U.S. Postal Service, please mail your application to:

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
P.O. Box 660867
Dallas, TX 75266

If your U.S. address is in Massachusetts and you use Express Mail or commercial courier services (e.g. FedEx, DHL, UPS), please mail your application to:

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Attn. AOS
2501 S. State Hwy. 121 Business
Suite 400
Lewisville, TX 75067

Helpful Tips:  

  • Keep a copy of all documents submitted to USCIS for your records.  Also, you should keep a mailing return receipt of your package as evidence that you submitted the application in a timely manner.
  • The U.S. Postal Service cannot forward USCIS government mail using the USPS Mail Forwarding service. If you need to update the mailing address on the Form I-765 after you submit the application to USCIS, please contact your ISO Advisor for more information.

Your work permission will not be in effect until USCIS approves it, which could take several months. Once approved, USCIS will send you an Employment Authorization Card (EAD). Keep the slip of paper your EAD card is attached to, as you will need it for any EAD extension applications.

Social Security Number and Taxes

After receiving your EAD card, you must apply for a Social Security number. Please see out Social Security page for more details.

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 (web site: http://www.irs.gov).

Extension of Employment Authorization

J-2 employment authorization is generally granted for one year at a time, but can be authorized for up to 4 years. If you and the J-1 visa holder apply for an extension of stay, you must request an extension of employment authorization in order to continue working. The J-1’s extension of stay must be granted before the J-2’s application extension of work permission 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 on the J-1’s current DS-2019 Form. For more information about the extension of stay procedure, please make an appointment with an International Student Advisor.

The application procedure for extension/renewal of employment authorization is the same as for your original authorization. Send a copy of your current EAD card — include the paper slip that your current EAD was attached to when you received it in the mail — along with the other required documents as outlined on the checklist. Another EAD card will be issued with new dates. J-2 dependents may submit an application for extension/renewal of employment authorization up to 180 days before the expiration of the original EAD card.

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