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J-2 work authorization

How to apply

In order for the spouse or child of a J-1 scholar to work in the United States, the following items must be collected, prepared and sent to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services by the dependent. These supporting documents must be submitted along with the I-765 application form for J-2 employment authorization applications:

  • A letter addressed to USCIS (sample) indicating why work authorization is being requested. The letter should clearly state that the money derived from employment will not be used to provide principal support for the J-1 scholar. Employment will not be authorized if the money is needed to support the J-1 scholar. Some reasons a spouse or child might apply for work could include:
    • Making additional money for travel in the U.S.
    • Gaining work experience
    • Making additional money for family cultural activities
    • Learning about the American way of life or business through work experience
  • Two photographs that meet Department of State specifications (can be obtained at the International Center)
  • Copy of the J-2 dependent's current DS-2019
  • Copy of both the J-1's and J-2 applicant's passport pages (only pages showing biographic information, passport number and expiration date need to be copied)
  • Copy of the J-1 scholar's current DS-2019
  • Copy of the J-1's and J-2 applicant's I-94 record (download online)
  • Form I-765
  • Personal check in the amount of $410 (made payable to the Department of Homeland Security)

If you want the International Center to review the application before it is sent, please make an appointment with an international scholar adviser.