Rules for J-2 Dependents

If you are a J-1 exchange visitor, your spouse and unmarried minor children less than age 21 are eligible for J-2 dependent status.

Each J-2 dependent must have a separate DS-2019.  You can get Add Dependent forms from International Programs and Services for the J-1 status holder to complete and turn back in to our office. We return the approved forms to the J-1 exchange visitor, who signs a J-2 dependent DS-2019 for each family member. 

Dependents do not have to enter on a J-2 dependent visa. They may come to the United States as tourists or in other visa classes if they qualify. For shorter visits—three months or less—a tourist visa may be the most appropriate choice.

About Employment

J–2 dependents need permission to work from US Citizenship and Immigration Services. They are eligible to apply to USICS for employment authorization as long as their work will not be used to financially support the J-1 exchange visitor. J-2 dependents cannot begin work until they receive a valid Employment Authorization Document.

When you have your EAD you can apply for a Social Security Number, which is also legally required to work in the United States.

You Need to Know

J-2 dependents cannot be unpaid volunteers in positions where others receive compensation to perform the same services.

Your Application Packet

  • Form I-765
  • Statement of Request for J-2 Work Permission
  • $380 Money Order payable to the US. Department of Homeland Security
  • Copies of current Ds-2019s, both J-1 and J-2
  • Two passport photos taken within 30 days

Study in J-2 Status

J-2 dependents can also be part- or full-time students at US universities. Children in J-2 status can attend public schools.

If you Travel

  • Carry a passport valid for at least six months beyond the date of the re-entry to the US
  • Carry a valid J-1 visa (does not apply to Canadian citizens)
  • Carry a DS-2019 with a valid travel endorsement from IPS

Do Residency Rules Affect J-2 Status?

If the J-1 Exchange Visitor is subject to the two-year home residency requirement so are his or her J-2 dependents. Although J-2 dependents must fulfill the requirement on their own, if the J-1 exchange visitor receives a waiver, J-2 dependents are also released from the rule to return home for at least two years.