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J2 Work Permit and Processing Time

Updated: Dec 19, 2022

J2 work permit (EAD) application processing time can take between 3-5 months. I am sharing our journey about J2 visa work permit and I think most of you will find this article helpful. My spouse worked with a J2 EAD for approximately 3 years until he got the green card.

Before J2 EAD, my husband was working on H1B for 4 years and it was such a nightmare working on H1B, I remember we use to watch the news regarding H1B visas during the Trump administration period from January 2017 to January 2021.

Every other day there was some sizzling news on H1B. During that time period, H1B processing time went high, extensions started getting rejected, premium processing fee was increased, some companies stopped sponsoring H1B visa holders, etc. There were so many negative things going on with H1B.

Many of my friends had to go back to India as their visa extension got rejected. All different kinds of reasons to deny an extension, this is when my husband planned to switch from H1B to J2 EAD, followed by some personal reason and this was a wise decision for us.

So, why J2 EAD?

A J1 visa is granted under a cultural exchange program and its dependent (J2 visa holder) can get EAD within ~3-5 months and work part-time or full-time without any restriction.

In our case, we were out of the danger ⚠️ zone of H1B. As you know every year ”highly skilled“ people are hired on H1B via a lottery system. H1B workers constitute the biggest visa group among all the other work visa holders, so H1B is the first target when it comes to securing a job for US citizens. Kick out H1B visa holders and most US people will get jobs. This is not my thought but that’s how it’s portrayed to the whole system.

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The biggest advantage, you don’t need any sponsorship when you have J2 EAD, you can work anywhere anytime you want. You can even work extra hours and have 2 jobs. You get a lot of freedom with J2 EAD.

You would have noticed that when you apply for a job in the US, usually there is a question if you need sponsorship. You will choose yes if you are an H1B visa holder and most probably due to this reason your resume will be trashed. For J2 EAD, you don’t need any kind of sponsorship.

J1 visa holders are eligible to file for the green card themselves or by hiring a lawyer, unlike H1B where companies have to file on your behalf. You can’t do it by yourself. So, another advantage of being J2 dependent is that you automatically get a green card when the primary visa holder (J1) gets the green card.

J2 work permit (EAD)

When you apply for J2 EAD you will get EAD for the same period as your DS-2019 validity. If your DS-2019 is valid for a year, you will get EAD for a year. If your DS-2019 is valid for more, your EAD will have more time period.

In most cases, the DS-2019 duration depends upon how much funding your professor has for your research work and how the University visa and immigration department grants you the DS-2019. Initially, when I came to the US, I had straight 5 years of DS-2019. You can even negotiate with your professor to show more funding and get maximum period on DS-2019 so that your dependent can get more time on EAD. Similary it helps you getting longer Drivers License, State ID etc..

The maximum you can work on J2 EAD is 5 years, the same as the primary visa holder. Later J1 can apply for a green card.

J2 EAD extension is a pretty simple process and usually, you can get it extended in 3 months, the same as you can get a new EAD. You can apply for extension 6 months before your EAD expiry so you have sufficient time.

We applied for a J2 EAD extension 3 times and it was never rejected or never got RFE, etc. Please refer to my next blog on how you can apply for J2 EAD.

Please comment if you have any questions or doubts. I will try my best to share my experience so far.

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