J-1 Visitors are welcome to bring their spouse and children with them to the US! They will need a J-2 visa, which is a dependent visa for a J-1 Visitor.
Only the spouse and minor children (under age 21) who accompany the J-1 visa holder to the U.S. may receive J-2 dependent status. Their eligibility to stay legally in the U.S., as well as to extend their stay, is based on the J-1 Visitor’s status.
Any other family members besides your spouse and children must apply for a B-1 or B-2 visitor’s visa to enter the U.S.
The J-1 Request form completed by the J-1 Visitor provides directions on how to request a DS-2019 for each J-2 dependent that will join you in the US. With the DS-2019 for each J-2 dependent, they can follow the same process to apply for a J-2 visa as the J-1 Visitor.
J-2 Requirements and Options in the US
- All J-2 dependents MUST have health insurance at all times that meets the State department’s requirements.
- J-2 individuals can attend school part-time or full-time.
- J-2 individuals can apply for a work permit to work in the US.
- Dependents can leave the US and return as often as they like while the J-1 Visitor’s status is active, and they have a valid travel signature on their DS-2019 form.
- Please note that presence in the US in J-2 status can also make your dependents ineligible to return soon after their J-2 visit in the J-1 Research Scholar or Professor categories.
J-2 Work Permit Overview
A person in J-2 status may apply to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for work authorization. Authorization will be granted, in the form of an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), only if the purpose of the employment is NOT for financially supporting the J-1 Exchange Visitor.
J-2 employment may be authorized for up to 12-months or for the J-1 principal’s authorized stay (as indicated on Form I-94 and Form DS-2019), whichever is shorter. The EAD work permit may be renewed if the J-1 Visitor’s status is extended.
After obtaining the EAD, the J-2 spouse may apply for a Social Security Number, which is required to be paid in the US. Please note that any income earned will be taxed appropriately.
J-2 Employment Application Process
- I-765 with (c)(5) filled in section #20
- Check or money order made payable to US Department of Homeland Security in the amount of $410
- 2 recent Passport-style photos
- Copies of J-1 and J-2 DS-2019s.
- Legible copy of J-2’s Passport ID page, I-94 entry record, and visa stamp
- Legible copy of J-1’s Passport ID page, I-94 entry record, and visa stamp
- A letter written by the J-2 requesting employment authorization and indicating the income earned from this employment will NOT be used to support the J-1.
- If filing an extension of your EAD, include a legible copy of your current EAD card (front and back)
- Mail completed application to USCIS to the appropriate address found here.
- If applying from outside of Maryland, please use the appropriate mailing address based on where you live, found here.
Note: It can take up to 90 days for the EAD card to be issued. You may not begin employment until you receive the card.