J-2 work authorization

The J-2 dependent of an exchange visitor may apply to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for work permission provided that such employment is not needed for the support of the J-1 exchange visitor. Some acceptable reasons to apply for J-2 work permission include:

1. to earn extra living expenses for J-2 dependents;
2. to enable the J-2 to obtain professional experience;
3. to enable the J-2 to travel to the United States;
4. to allow the J-2 to obtain wider social and professional contacts.

As part of your application package, you must write a letter to the USCIS. In the letter, you should mention the following:
Click here for a Sample Letter

1. The reasons for wanting to work.
2. The source and amount of support for the J-1 exchange visitor. You need to demonstrate that the J-1's income is sufficient to support himself/herself and provide the basic necessities of the family.
3. Itemize the total monthly income and expenditures of the family in columns.
4. Include the following statement: "Any income derived from my employment will be used for my support and not for that of my (husband/wife/parent)".

Assemble your documents in the order listed below and mail your application for J-2 work permission to the USCIS Phoenix Lockbox. Send the following documents by certified mail with a return receipt requested or by express/overnight mail (be sure to make photocopies of all documents sent to the USCIS for your records):

  1. Check or money order for $410.00 made payable to "US Department of Homeland Security".
  2. Two passport-style photographs. (See reverse side for sample photos.) Write your name and SEVIS ID on the back in pencil or black pen and place the photographs in a Ziploc-style plastic baggie.
  3. Form I-765, typed out and signed in blue ink.
  4. The letter showing your budget and requesting work permission.
  5. Documentation of your finances as shown in the budget in your letter. If your funds come from a personal sponsor, you must include a Form I-134 Affidavit of Support completed by your sponsor.
  6. Photocopy of your DS-2019 and J-1's DS-2019.
  7. Photocopy of the front and back of J-1 and J-2 I-94 cards or download and print out the electronic admission records from https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov.
  8. Photocopies of the identity page and the visa page from the J-1 and J-2 passports, including passport expiration date.
  9. Photocopy of your last Employment Authorization Document (EAD), front and back (if applicable).

For Certified Mail send to:
US Citizenship and Immigration Services
Phoenix Lockbox
P.O. Box 21281
Phoenix, AZ, 85036

For Express/Overnight Mail send to:
US Citizenship and Immigration Services
Phoenix Lockbox, Attn AOS
1820 E. Skyharbor Circle S, Suite 100
Phoenix, AZ, 85034


  1. If this is your first application for J-2 working permission, it is strongly suggested that you make an appointment with an advisor in ISSS to have your documents reviewed.
  2. It is very important that you use a mailing address that will be current some time into the future when you make your application for J-2 work permission. Correspondence from USCIS cannot be forwarded.
  3. You will receive an Employment Authorization Document from USCIS. This is your J-2 work permission. You may not begin employment until you receive your EAD and the date listed on your EAD card has arrived.

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