J-2 VISA EMPLOYMENT AUTHORIZATION
A person with a J-2 visa (spouse or child of J-1 visa holder) is eligible to apply to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) permission to work. This application must be made by mail to USCIS’s Texas Service Center. When the application is approved by USCIS, the J-2 will receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) in the mail. J-2s may not begin legal employment in the United States until the EAD is issued and received. The validity of the EAD will correspond to the J-1 visa holder’s DS 2019 end date or one year, whichever is shorter. The J-2 EAD may take 60-90 days for the Immigration Services to process. Therefore, it is advised that the J-2’s apply for his/her EAD upon arrival, if he/she is interested in seeking employment or volunteer in the U.S.
The International Faculty Services Office has the updated list of materials required for the application. In addition, the IFSO will provide you with the immigration documents required to apply for J-2 work permission. Please make arrangements to pick up the application packet when your spouse is ready to apply for an EAD. In general, the application consist of an application form, USCIS processing fee of $175 must be paid by check or money order. No cash allowed), copies of J-1 and J-2’s immigration documents, proof of legal marriage, and a letter from the J-2. The letter from the J-2 EAD applicant should state the reason for the J-2’s interest in employment in the U.S.; however, most importantly, the letter must state that the J-2’s employment is incidental to the J-1’s income and that the J-2’s earnings will not be required for the familiy’s financial survival in the U.S. Please call the International Services Office to make an appointment to have someone review the letter and/or the J-2 EAD application.
J-2s are not allowed to work beyond the expiration date on the EAD. Therefore, J-2s must renew their EAD annually. To renew, one must follow same procedures, and it takes equal length of time for USCIS to process a J-2 EAD extension. Therefore, for the J-1s who have family members that work, please plan to extend your DS 2019 as soon as possible, but no later than 4-6 months prior to DS 2019 expiration date in order to renew EADs in a timely fashion.
Any money earned by a J-2 visa holder is subject to both federal income tax and social security tax.