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Immigration

J-2 Work Authorization

Permission to work will be authorized by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) if the employment is for support of the J-2 spouse and/or minor children in the United States but not for the support of the J-1 Exchange Visitor. If the income is needed to support the J-1 Exchange Visitor, USCIS will not authorize employment.

How to Apply

In order to apply for J-2 work permission, you first obtain the following items:

  • an I-765 form (Application for Employment Authorization)
    Note: this form can also be downloaded from the USCIS website (www.uscis.gov).
  • 2 photos taken as specified in the I-765 instructions

Then, the following documents should be mailed certified with receipt to one of the lockbox addresses listed below.

If your U.S. address is in Massachusetts and you use the U.S. Postal Service, please mail your application to:

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
P.O. Box 660867
Dallas, TX 75266

If your U.S. address is in Massachusetts and you use Express Mail or commercial courier services, please mail your application to:

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Attn. AOS
2501 S. State Hwy. 121 Business
Suite 400
Lewisville, TX 75067

If your U.S. address is not in Massachusetts, consult the instructions to form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization for the correct mailing address.

Checklist of documents to be mailed to USCIS:

  • Check for $380 made payable to Department of Homeland Security.
  • 2 photos (put your name and I-94 number in pencil on the back of each photo)
  • Original I-765 form
  • Photocopies of J-2 immigration documents: DS-2019 (first page only), passport identity and expiration pages, visa stamp, and I-94 card (front & back). If you are applying for an extension of your current EAD, include a copy of your current EAD (front & back) and copy of the slip it was attached to when you received it in the mail.
  • Photocopies of J-1 immigration documents: DS-2019 (first page only), passport identity and expiration pages, visa stamp, and I-94 card (front & back).
  • J-2 Statement: On a separate piece of paper, the J-2 applicant should state that the money earned from employment will not be used to support the J-1 student, but rather is intended for other purposes (e.g. cultural, recreational, and travel expenses for the J-2 dependent). You may wish to attach evidence of the J-1 student's funding (i.e. award letter, bank statements, etc.).

Hint: make copies of everything you send!

Your work permission will not be in effect until USCIS approves it, which could take several months. Once approved, USCIS will send you an Employment Authorization Card (EAD). Keep the slip of paper your EAD card is attached to, as you will need it for any EAD extension applications.

Social Security Number and Taxes

After receiving your EAD card, you must apply for a Social Security number. Take your passport, DS-2019 form, I-94 card, and EAD card to the Social Security Administration office located at 240 Elm St. in Somerville (Hours: Monday – Friday, 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM; Telephone: 1-800-772-1213). Take the Red Line T to the Davis Square stop. Exit on Holland (turns into Elm) St. and turn right once you are outside the T station. The Social Security Administration is down the street on the right, next to Dunkin Donuts.

Earnings of J-2 visa holders are subject to U.S. Social Security taxes, as well as federal and state income taxes. See IRS Publication 519, “United States Tax Guide for Aliens” available from the IRS (web site: http://www.irs.gov).

Extension of Employment Authorization

J-2 employment authorization is generally granted for one year at a time. If you and the J-1 visa holder apply for an extension of stay, you must request an extension of employment authorization in order to continue working. The J-1’s extension of stay must be granted before the J-2’s application extension of work permission is submitted to USCIS. It is important to complete both the extension of stay and the extension of employment authorization procedures before the expiration date on the J-1’s current DS-2019 Form. For more information about the extension of stay procedure, please make an appointment with an International Student Advisor.

The application procedure for extension of employment authorization is the same as for your original authorization. Send a copy of your current EAD card — include the paper slip that your current EAD was attached to when you received it in the mail — along with the other required documents as outlined on the checklist. Another EAD card will be issued with new dates.

Special Acknowledgement to the International Scholars Office

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