Dependents of J-1 Exchange Visitors (J2) may apply for employment authorization from U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) at any point during their stay as long as the compensation they receive will not be used to support the J-1 Exchange Visitor.
A job offer is not required and the employment may be of any area other than medicine, including professional positions and part-time casual positions. Any position that offers any form of compensation requires employment authorization - do not work in the U.S. in any capacity without work authorization.
There is an application fee, and processing by USCIS takes approximately three months. No employment can begin until employment has been authorized and the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) has been received. Any income earned is subject to federal, state, and social security taxes. Employment authorization can be granted for up to one year or until the end date of the J-1 principal’s program, whichever is earlier. Extensions can be filed each year for up to three more years as long as the J-1 Exchange Visitor continues to maintain valid status.