The dependents (spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age) of the J-1 Exchange Visitor are eligible for J-2 dependent status. Although dependents usually enter as J-2s, they are not required to do so. They may enter in other visa classifications for which they qualify, such as F-1, J-1, B-2 or H-1B.

Form DS-2019

Each J-2 dependent must be in possession of a Form DS-2019. To request a DS-2019 for a dependent who did not accompany the J-1 to the US, complete the Request for Family DS-2019 and submit it to International Scholars Operations (ISO).  The dependent then must take the DS-2019 to the US consulate to apply for a J-2 visa, and present the DS-2019 and the J-2 visa to the immigration official upon entry into the US.  Dependents currently in the US in another nonimmigrant status who seek to change status to J-2 must complete Form I-539 and file it with USCIS in accordance with the form’s instructions.  DS-2019s for family members can be issued only if funding for their support ($1200 per month for the spouse, $600 per month each child) is sufficient to cover the full period of time remaining on the J-1’s current DS-2019.

Departments are charged a processing fee of $300, payable by Cost Transfer Invoice (CTI), for each DS-2019 requested. If the validity dates of the DS-2019 exceed one year, an additional $300 processing fee will be assessed for each year the form covers. Budget documentation will be sent to the Budget Contact listed on the UW J Visa Request Form. Departments may request reimbursement of the fee from the Exchange Visitor.

J-2 employment

Dependents in J-2 status may request employment authorization from US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Income from the J-2’s employment may be used to support the family’s customary recreational and cultural activities and related travel, among other things. Employment will not be authorized if the income is needed to support the J-1. Employment may be authorized up to 12 months and may be renewed annually provided the J-1 is maintaining status. J-2s are subject to social security and federal income taxes. The J-2 will not be able to obtain a Social Security number unless he or she is in possession of an employment authorization document (EAD) issued by USCIS.

Study in J-2 status

There is no restriction on study for persons holding J-2 status.

Travel abroad and re-entry

A J-2 who travels outside the US for a temporary visit follows the same procedures as the J-1. If a J-2 dependent permanently departs the US prior to the J-1’s program end date, the J-1 must inform ISO so that this information can be reported in SEVIS.

J-2 remaining in the US during travel of J-1

A problematic situation arises when the J-1 travels outside the US, and the J-2 remains within the US. Since the J-2’s stay in the US is valid only while the J-1 maintains status here, it is not legitimate for the J-2 to remain within the US for more than just a few days without the J-1.

Extension of stay

The duration of the J-1’s program is stated in item 3 of the DS-2019. ISO has the discretion to extend a J-1’s program participation to the limit allowed by law (six months for Short Term Scholars, five years for Professors and Research Scholars). The J-2’s period of stay is automatically extended with the J-1.

Termination of status

A J-2’s status in the US terminates when the J-1’s status terminates. A child’s J-2 status terminates upon reaching his or her 21st birthday.

Two-year home country physical presence requirement

The J-2 is subject to the two-year home country physical presence requirement if the J-1 is subject to that requirement. If the J-1 applies for and receives a waiver of the two-year requirement, the waiver also covers the J-2, unless the J-2 has a separate home residence requirement based on his or her own previous J-1 status. In some cases, a J-2 can get a waiver independent of the J-1.