Individuals who are in J-2 status, i.e. the dependents of J-1 status holders, are eligible to work while in the U.S. In order to be employed – paid or unpaid – J-2 status holders must have a valid Employment Authorization Document or EAD.
Once the J-2 status holder has obtained an EAD, he or she may work without restriction until the expiration date noted on the EAD card or until the J-2 status ends, whichever is shorter. EAD cards are issued for various periods of duration, often for a year, at the discretion of USCIS. In order to be employed past the EAD expiration date, the J-2 must have applied for and obtained a new EAD. This renewal process may take 3-4 months and may require an extension of the primary J-1 status holder.
While there is no restriction on the amount of time an individual in J-2 status may work or the amount he or she may earn, in some instances it may be in the interest of the department to sponsor the individual for a different status, such as J-1. Please contact OIA to discuss the various considerations.
For more information of the EAD-application process, please visit the section on Work Permission for J-2 Dependents.