J-2 Work Authorization

Initial J-2 Work Authorization

USCIS will generally authorize J-2 employment for one year at a time, but not beyond the end date of the J-1's DS-2019. Work authorization ends on the expiration date shown on the EAD and is valid only as long as the J-1 is maintaining status.  J-2 visa holders are eligible to apply for employment authorization from USCIS as long as the following conditions are met:

  • both the J-1 and J-2 exchange visitors maintain valid J visa status
  • income from employment is not used to support the J-1 (sample letter)

Employment may

  • begin AFTER receiving an employment authorization document (also referred to as an EAD card) from USCIS
  • be full-time or part-time

J-2 dependents must apply directly to USCIS for work authorization.  Visit the USCIS website for form I-765 application and instructions.

Extending J-2 employment authorization

A J-2 spouse or dependent child must file Form I-765 with all supporting documentation each time an extension of employment authorization is necessary. Since the EAD cannot be issued for longer than the validity of the DS-2019, any necessary extension of stay of the J-1 must be processed prior to the application for extension of J-2 employment authorization.

In order to avoid interruptions in J-2 employment authorization, it is important to file the Form I-765 for extension of employment authorization sufficiently in advance (but no more than 120 days in advance) so that the extension application is approved before the expiration of the current grant of authorization. J-2 employment authorization expires with the expiration of the EAD, and the mere filing of an application for new authorization does not permit employment during the adjudication process. If the current EAD has expired, the J-2 must cease employment until receiving the new EAD.

Social Security Cards

After Employment Authorization is granted from USCIS, the J-2 can apply for the social security card by bringing the following documents to the Social Security Office in Albany:

  • Original DS-2019
  • Valid passport
  • Current I-94 Arrival/Departure form
  • One additional piece of identification (establishing identity and age)
  • Employment Authorization Document (EAD) issued by USCIS
  • Job offer letter

Click here for more information about Social Security Cards.