Bringing Dependents into the USA as J-2 Visa Holders:
Your spouse or unmarried child/children under 21 may accompany you under J-2 dependent status while you pursue a program of study, research or teaching in the U.S.; Non-immediate family members must enter in their own non-immigrant status, most commonly as B-2 visitors. They may also come later, entering the US by themselves.
Whether you decide to bring your family members with you at the time of your initial entry or at a later time, you are required to show evidence for each dependent of adequate financial support. J-2 dependents are required by law to purchase and maintain adequate health insurance coverage.
Procedures for J-2 Requests:
STEP 1: Submit the following documentation to The Center for Global Engagement in Green Hall 111
- REQUEST FORM FOR J-2 STATUS
- Financial Documentation (e.g. bank statement, proof of grad assistantship, letter from employer or sponsor, etc.) – Please use the FundsV electronic verification system to submit your documentation!
Once the office adds your dependent(s) to your SEVIS record, a new DS-2019 is issued to you and each of your accompanying dependent.
STEP 2: Provide your dependent(s) with the following documentation for their visa application
- New J-2(DS-2019) (original)
- Your DS-2019 (copy)
- Your passport biographical page (copy)
- Your J-1 visa stamp (copy)
- Your I-94
- Financial documentation (e.g. bank statement; proof of graduate assistantship, letter from employer or sponsor)
- Your letter of invitation.
STEP 3: Your dependent(s) should contact their local U.S. Embassy/Consular Office at http://usembassy.state.gov/ and follow the procedures for J-2 visa application.
STEP 4: When your dependent(s) arrives in Ewing, have them check in at the Center for Global Engagement and provide a copy of each dependent’s immigration documents ( and proof of insurance for J-2 dependents).
Procedures for Visiting Family (B-2 Status):
If you would like to invite your parents or other immediate family members for a short visit in the U.S., your family member(s) should contact their local U.S. Embassy/Consular Office and follow the procedures for B-2 visa application:
Dependents in J-2 generally need the same documents to re-enter the U.S. as the primary J-1 student. Be sure to obtain an endorsement on the dependent DS-2019 in order to re-enter the U.S.
Dependents are not required to travel with the primary J-1 student. In addition, dependents may remain in the U.S. without the primary as long as the J-1 maintains their current status and will return after a temporary absence (generally 30 days or less) using the same SEVIS ID number.
J-2 dependents are allowed to pursue study part-time or full-time until Department of State publishes new J regulations stating otherwise.
Working (Volunteering) in the US/Social Security Number:
J-2 dependents may work in the U.S. with a valid Employment Authorization Document (EAD) issued by the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS). J-2’s EAD is valid for any kind of full-time or part-time employment. However, it cannot be used to support the J-1 student.
- Lawful J-2 dependents may apply for EAD by filing Form I-765 with USCIS. An EAD can be issued for up to 1 year at a time or for the validity of DS-2019, which ever is shorter. It is possible to extend an EAD.
- For more information about the application procedures see the J-2 APPLICATION FOR EMPLOYMENT AUTHORIZATION
J-2 dependents may apply for a social security number if they are in possession of a valid Employment Authorization Document.
J-2 dependents may volunteer if their volunteer activities do not displace a paid position
As long as J-1 students maintain lawful status, their J-2 dependents are allowed to travel in and out of country by themselves with proper documentation.
If a J-1 student is on Academic Training, the J-2 dependents are advised to carry a copy of J-1 student’s Academic Training authorization letter in addition to their own immigration documents.
Changing Status from J-2 to J-1
It is possible to change status in the U.S. if J-2 dependents are not subject to the 212(e) 2-year home residence requirement or if they are approved for a waiver of 212(e). For more information, please contact the Center for Global Engagement.