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How to Apply for J2 EAD: New Application and Renewal Process

Updated: 5 days ago

The J2 EAD (Employment Authorization Document) allows dependents of J1 visa holders to work in the US without any sponsorship requirement. J2 EAD extension/renewal is possible up to the end date mentioned on your DS-2019, typically EADs are granted for 1 year.

To apply for a J2 EAD card, you must file the form I-765 by mail with the USCIS. J2 visa holders are not eligible for online filing of form I-765, which is needed for the J2 EAD application.

Also, no premium service is currently available for the J2 EAD application. You can file J2 EAD yourself, there is no requirement to hire a lawyer.

My spouse was on a J2 visa, and we applied for his J2 EAD application followed by subsequent extensions/renewals. In this blog, I will cover everything you need to know about the J2 EAD application process, starting from the cover letter for J2 EAD, required documents, validity, processing time, and premium processing service.

J2 EAD Application


J2 EAD Eligibility, you are eligible if

  • J1 and J2 have valid statuses

  • You are physically present in the US

J2 EAD Fees


J2 EAD Premium Processing

Not available

J2 EAD Expedite Request

Yes, possible

J2 EAD Category


Online Filing

Not available


Typically, 1 year

Table of Contents: J2 EAD Application Process

J2 EAD Processing Time

The table below displays the processing times for J2 EAD applications at various service centers. These times represent the duration within which 80% of cases are typically processed.

You can bookmark ⭐ this page, or save/share this blog link, as these processing times are frequently updated and you might need this in the future. Or, you can also check yourself by following the steps mentioned in the next section.

To Check J2 EAD Processing Time

J2 EAD Processing Time
  • Go to USCIS website

  • Select the form type as 'I-765 Application for Employment Authorization'

  • Select the category 'All other applications for employment authorization'

    • The category (c)(5) which is used to file J2 EAD is not in the list

  • Select the service center based on your receipt number (initial three letters) and hit 'Get processing time':

    • WAC – California Service Center

    • SRC – Texas Service Center

    • LIN – Nebraska Service Center

    • EAC – Vermont Service Center

    • YSC – Potomac Service Center

    • MSC/NBC – National Benefits Center

In our experience, the initial J2 EAD application and its three renewals each took an average of 3-4 months to process. It's important to note that processing times vary between cases and service centers. In our case, all applications were processed at the USCIS Potomac Service Center.

If you plan to renew your J2 EAD, it's advisable to apply for the extension well in advance. J2 EAD renewals can be submitted up to 6 months before expiration.

J2 EAD Cover Letter Sample

This letter serves as the cover page for your J2 EAD application. While a cover letter is not mandatory for J2 EAD applications, including this, can improve the chances of application approval. Feel free to customize the following template for a new J2 EAD application or renewal.

[Your Name]

[Your Address]

[City, State, ZIP Code]

[Date, Month, Year]

United States Citizenship and Immigration Service

RE: Request for J2 Employment Authorization Document [Extension]

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am requesting an [extension/ a new application] for my J2 work authorization. My name is [Your Name], and I currently reside in the United States under J2 status, accompanying my spouse, [J1 Visa Holder Name], who is a postdoctoral researcher at the [University of California, Riverside (SEVIS No. _________)].

I wish to [start/ continue] my employment to gain experience in the American workplace culture. The income generated will be utilized for pursuing my career interests, such as [part-time master's classes and other recreational/cultural activities], and not for supporting my spouse.

My spouse's annual income of $_____ is sufficient for our day-to-day expenses. I kindly request your consideration in granting me [an extension of] work authorization. Thank you in advance for your attention to this matter.


[Your Name]

Enclosed are all the required documents to support my J2 EAD application:

  • Filing fee check, photographs & I-765 application

  • Copy of I-797A approval notice

  • Copy of the latest I-94

  • Copy of DS-2019

  • Copy of all pages of passport and visa

  • Copy of DS-2019, last 3 months pay stubs (primary J1 visa holder)

  • Copy of I-94, passport, and visa (primary J1 visa holder)

  • Marriage certificate

J2 EAD Validity

The validity of the J2 EAD is typically one year. USCIS generally authorizes J-2 employment for one year or until the J-1 visa holder's DS-2019 expires. When you receive a new DS-2019, you automatically become eligible to apply for the renewal of your J2 EAD.

As previously mentioned, the renewal process can be initiated at least 6 months before the current EAD's expiration, provided that your DS-2019 has been updated. In our situation, we consistently received one-year J2 EADs and submitted the extension application annually.

J2 EAD Renewal Documents or New Application

Below are the J2 visa holder documents needed for a new EAD application or renewal:

  • Completed and signed I-765 application

  • G-1145 form (optional)

  • Copy of latest I-94

  • Copy of passport pages (front and back)

  • Copy of visa stamps

  • Copy of all DS-2019

  • Copy of previously issued EAD cards (in case of renewal)

  • Payment of $520 by check or money order payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

  • Two passport-size color photos: Include two passport-size color photos with your EAD application. Place the photos in an envelope labeled "Photos". On the back of each photo, lightly print your name and A-Number (if applicable) using a pencil.

  • Cover letter

  • Copy of marriage certificate (with certification of translation if not in English)

You would be filing a J2 EAD application under (c)(5) category - Spouse/dependent of J1 exchange visitor on the I-765 form.

J1 Visa Holder's Documents for J2 EAD Application

  • Copy of all DS-2019

  • Copy of passport pages front and back

  • Copy of all visa stamps

  • Copy of I-94 form

  • Last 3 months' pay stubs

J2 EAD Sample Check

I am attaching a J2 EAD sample check for your reference. The J2 EAD application fee is $520, and your check should be payable to the 'U.S. Department of Homeland Security'. Please remember to date and sign the check.

Optionally, on the back of the check, you can mention the applicant's I-94 number with a light pencil. The following check has been updated to reflect recent USCIS changes in the EAD application fee.

J2 EAD Sample Check

J2 EAD Premium Processing

Premium processing is not available for J2 EAD applications. Only certain categories of F1 visa holders can apply for premium processing for the I-765 form. However, you can submit an expedited request on a humanitarian reason basis.

J2 EAD Filing Address

Please visit the USCIS website to find the appropriate filing address for your J2 EAD application. The USCIS website will provide state-wise details for sending all the required documents.

I have provided the screenshot below but it is better to check the website as these might change in the future.

For overnight or courier delivery, FedEx has been our preferred choice, but you can choose a service that suits your convenience. USPS will be the cheapest option.

J2 EAD Filing Address

To organize the documents, I recommend using file binders with tabs, labeled and numbered as mentioned in my other posts as well. This organization makes it easy for the officer to review all the documents efficiently. Arrange the documents following the structure outlined in the sample cover letter.

J2 EAD documents

When attaching the check, use a paper clip and affix it to a blank page. Similarly, place the photos in a small envelope and attach them with a paper clip to a blank page.

Avoid using a stapler. This method helps keep your application organized and facilitates a smoother review process.

J2 EAD Status Check

Upon receiving your case, USCIS will issue a receipt notice (Form I-797C) containing a unique receipt number. This number allows you to check your case status online. You can visit the USCIS website to track your case.

Please don't hesitate to post any questions in the comment section, and I will do my best to provide helpful answers. Best of luck!

FAQs on J2 EAD Application

What is the category for the J2 EAD application?

J2 visa holders, who are dependents of J1 visa holders, can apply for Employment Authorization Document (EAD) under category (c)(5).

Do I need any sponsorship to apply for J2 EAD?

No, you don't need any form of sponsorship for the EAD application. You can file for a J2 EAD card as long as you are a dependent of a J1 visa holder and possess a valid DS-2019, and you can do this yourself. No need for a lawyer.

Can J2 work without EAD?

No, a J2 visa holder needs a physical EAD card to begin working.

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Vicks Vapourub
Vicks Vapourub
Sep 27, 2023

I have seen your blog related to getting J2 Visa while changing the status from H1B to J2. I have seen option 2 in that blog which mentioned, that we can apply J2 visa while staying in USA. If we apply from USA, then we don't get the stamping on our passport isn't it? If that's the case we can't apply for J2 EAD while staying in USA? As there is requirement of J2 Visa stamping document for the process of J2 EAD?

Hina Singh
Hina Singh
Oct 08, 2023
Replying to

Hi V 🙂, For a J2 change of status or obtaining a J2 EAD, J2 visa stamping is not a requirement. However, if you plan to travel and re-enter the USA, you will need the J2 visa stamp. Thanks.


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