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J-2 Documents and Status

A J-1 student or scholar may bring a qualified spouse and/or unmarried children under the age of 21 to the U.S. while the student or scholar is engaged in his/her program in the U.S. The dependents enter the U.S. under the visa category of J-2.

Students may request DS-2019 documents for the dependents upon submission of adequate additional financial support, proof of additional medical insurance for the dependents*, and passport copies to the Immigration Specialist at the Office of International Students and Visiting Scholars (OISVS). The dependents then use their own DS-2019 to apply for a J-2 visa from their nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

J-2 dependents may not remain in the U.S. beyond the tenure of the principal J-1 student or scholar, and their status is dependent upon the status of the J-1 student or scholar. J-2 dependents have no restrictions on study at this time. However, J-2s wishing to pursue a post-secondary degree full-time may wish to apply for a change of status to J-1 before enrolling full-time.

J-2 Work Permission

J-2 dependents are allowed to apply to the USCIS for permission to work, as long as the earnings will not be used to support the J-1 principal. Please discuss the application requirements and details with the Immigration Specialist at the OISVS. J-2 dependents are not allowed to work on or off-campus without the permission granted on the Employment Authorization Document (EAD card). Work without proper authorization from USCIS is a violation of status and would subject a J-2 dependent to deportation.

J-2 dependents also need their DS-2019 endorsed by the Immigration Specialist in the OISVS in order to re-enter the U.S. after temporary travel abroad.

J-2 status ends when the principal J-1 program ends. If the J-1 student or scholar is subject to the 2 year home-residency requirement, the J-2 dependents are as well.

*The medical insurance for both the J-1 principal and J-2 dependents must be sickness and accident insurance that includes both medical evacuation and repatriation insurance. This insurance must be in effect for the duration of the Exchange Visitor’s program.

(The information on this page is for your information only and should not be taken as legal advice. Please contact an immigration attorney if legal advice is required.)