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 contingent upon the J-1 visa holder maintaining his or her legal status and extending his or her program in a timely manner.
All other family members must apply for a B-1 or B-2 visitor’s visa to gain entry to the U.S.
J-2 and Employment
A person in J-2 status may apply to USCIS for permission to accept employment. Permission will be granted, in the form of an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), only if the purpose of the employment is NOT for 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. If the J-1 principal’s authorized period of stay is extended or is longer than 12-months, the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) may be renewed.
After obtaining the EAD, the J-2 spouse may apply for a Social Security Card and will be subject to federal, state and local income tax on his or her earnings.
J-2 Employment Authorization Procedures
- Completed Form I-765 (pdf) with (c)(5) filled in section #16
- Check or money order made payable to US Department of Homeland Security in the amount of $380
- 2 recent Passport-style photos
- Legible copy of J-2's Passport ID page, I-94 card (front and back), and visa stamp
- Legible copy of J-1's Passport ID page, I-94 card (front and back), and visa stamp
- Legible copy of your current EAD card (front and back), if filing an extension of your EAD
- A letter written by the J-2 requesting employment authorization and indicating the income derived from the employment will NOT be used to support the J-1.
- Mail completed application to USCIS (mailing instructions pdf). It can take up to 90 days for the EAD card to be issued. You may not begin employment until you receive the card.
J-2 and School
Currently there are no regulation restrictions on study for J-2 dependents.
How to Obtain a DS-2019 for Your Dependent
For each dependent, please provide the following:
- An additional US$5,000 in funds. Please provide a recent translated bank statement.
- A copy of the dependent's passport.
- Proof of the relationship to the J-1 visa holder, such as a copy of a birth certificate or marriage license.