J-2 Work Permission

J-2 visa holders (the spouses, partners, and dependent children of J-1's) may apply to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for permission to work in the United States. This type of application is routinely approved since the regulation says only  “income from the spouse's or dependent's employment may be used to support the family's customary recreational and cultural activities and related travel, among other things. Employment will not be authorized if this income is needed to support the J-1 principal alien.” Keep in mind that USCIS processing can take an average of 90 days or longer.

Steps in the Process

STEP ONE: Your J-2 work authorization is called an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). We recommend your J-1 spouse extend his/her DS-2019 out as far as as possible as your EAD end date will match the DS-2019 end date. For example, if the DS-2019 is two years long, you get a two-year EAD. The Yale appointment can be for multiple years even if the appointment process is annual. Please ask OISS if you have questions about this. When you apply for work permission you must pay the Form I-765 fee and prepare all of the materials listed below.  

STEP TWO: Prepare the materials listed below, and mail to USCIS.

STEP THREE: USCIS normally takes an average of 90 days to process the request and issue the EAD. It is strongly advised to apply as early as possible as USCIS processing time can vary greatly. Once you receive the card, you can work for anyone (as long as you qualify and meet any licensing requirements) full-time or part-time. Please remember that you can only work within the dates of validity on the EAD.

STEP FOUR: If you begin working, note that you will be subject to social security taxes, federal income taxes and, where applicable, state and local income taxes. Please remember to apply to extend your EAD at least four months prior to the expiration of the card.

Application Materials

  • A letter to USCIS, explaining the reason for requesting employment authorization. (See sample below)
  • Completed Form I-765  (the answer to some of the questions on the form are as follows):

#10 = If you do not have a social security card check “Yes” to obtain one from the Social Security Administration

#18 = J-2

#19 = J-2

#20 = (C)(5)( )

#21 = blank

#22 = blank

#23 = blank

  • Form G-1145 (optional) to request that they e-mail you when approved
  • Copies of all previous DS-2019 forms, visa stamps and I-94 records for both J-1 and J-2 visa holders
  • A copy of your passport ID page with your photo and information
  • A personal check or money order for $410 payable to US Department of Homeland Security. (A personal checks preferable because, if necessary, you will be able to determine if it has been cashed.  Be sure to format the date as MM/DD/YYYY) 
  • Two passport type color photographs. You should print your name lightly in pencil on the back of the two photographs (include the number on your previous EAD if you have one)
  • If you have applied for an EAD before, a photocopy of your Employment Authorization Document (back and front)

Request Letter

You can model your request letter after the sample below. The letter is very simple and does not need to be more than several lines of text.

2501 S. State Hwy. 121
Business Suite 400
Lewisville, TX 75067

To Whom It May Concern,

I would like to apply for employment authorization on the basis of my J-2 status in the U.S. I am the dependent (husband/wife) of (name) who is a (student/scholar) on a J-1 visa at Yale University.
I would like to apply for work permission because (write whatever is truly your situation)

  • It would be helpful if I was able to earn some money to pay for some of my personal expenses while in the U.S., or

  • I would like the opportunity to further my career as a (name a field of work) while in the U.S., or

  • I want to be prepared just in case there is an employment opportunity for me in the future, since it takes so long to get the work permit, or

  • I need an income to help pay for (my schooling, my children’s schooling, other…), or

  • Other…..

I declare that the money I earn will not be used to support my (husband/wife.)


Sign Name
Print Name

Where to Mail the Application

Before mailing, please make copies of all of your materials. If you are living in the New Haven area mail the application to:

By Courier Service (FedEx, DHL, UPS):
2501 S. State Hwy. 121
Business Suite 400
Lewisville, TX 75067

By U.S. Postal Service:
PO Box 660867
Dallas, TX 75266

After mailing in the documents, you will receive a notice (Form I-797) stating you need to wait for about 90 days to receive your EAD. This is your receipt, so take care not to lose it.