How to obtain employment authorization for J2 visa holder?
Receiving an EAD Card
Tax and SSN
J2 Employment Authorization is an employment authorization available for J2 visa holders. J2 is a visa type given to a dependent of J1 visa holder (e.g. spouse or dependent children of J1 visa holder).
J2 visa holder can work in the US with a proper authorization until the J1 visa holder completes his / her exchange visitor program. The authorization is granted by the USCIS. If the USCIS approved the J2 application for a work authorization, an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card will be sent to him / her.
You are eligible to apply for an employment authorization for J2 visa holder if:
- You are a dependent of a J1 visa holder
- The J1 visa holder maintains his / her legal status in the US
- You can prove that the income from the employment is not needed to support the J1 visa holder
- If the J1 visa holder cannot maintain his / her legal status, the employment authorization for J2 visa holder is automatically revoked
- J2 visa holder cannot start working before he / she receives the EAD card
How to obtain a J2 Employment Authorization?
Prepare the following documents:
- Copies of all DS-2019 issued for both J1 visa holder and J2 visa holder
- Copies of J2 visa holder’s passport (identification page and visa page)
- Copies of I-94 forms issued for both J1 visa holder and J2 visa holder
- A Request of work authorization letter addressed to the USCIS. The letter should mention that the income from the employment is not needed to support the J1 visa holder.
- Two current passport-style photograph
- Administrative Fee – currently it is $180 (you should check with your international student office or the USCIS for the current fee)
If you like, you can visit your International Student Office, and ask them to review the application. Some International Student Office will help you to mail the application to USCIS. However, if it is not the case, you should mail it by yourself to the proper USCIS service center (the one that has jurisdiction over the residence that you put in your I-765 form).
It is advisable that you send it by certified mail with return receipt or via courier such as FedEx or UPS.
Receiving an EAD Card
If your OPT application is approved by the USCIS, you will be sent an EAD (Employment Authorization Document) card. Your authorized employment start and end date is shown on your EAD card. You cannot start working before the start date shown on your EAD card.
The processing time for the OPT application is between 1.5 months to 3 months. Be sure that you put the correct and reliable address on the I-765 form, and that you stay there until you receive your EAD card. If you move, the post officer will not forward a US Government mail even if you already request a forwarding service with the US Postal Service. In addition, the post officer will not deliver your mail if he or she does not see your name on the mailbox. Therefore, if you put your family’s / friend’s / landlord’s address, put both of your name with a c/o (care of) in front of your family’s / friend’s / landlord’s name when you write the address, for example:
c/o Mike Smith
123 Any Street #1
Los Angeles , CA 12345
Tax and SSN
As a dependent of an exchange visitor you are not eligible for social security benefits. Therefore, you are not required to deduct the social security tax (FICA) from your paycheck while you are working under CPT. However, you should pay the Federal tax, State tax, and City tax. In order to do so, you need to have a Social Security Number (SSN).
Normally, you are not allowed get an SSN before you get your EAD card. However, after you get the EAD card you should apply for an SSN for tax purposes.