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J-2 Dependents

J-1 exchange visitors’ dependents (spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age) are eligible for J-2 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 have a DS-2019.

To request a DS-2019 for a dependent who did not accompany you to the U.S., ask your host unit to submit an Add J-2 Dependent form. ISO will issue a new DS-2019 for your dependent. Your dependent then will take the DS-2019 to the U.S. consulate and apply for a J-2 visa, and present the J-2 visa and the DS-2019 to the immigration official upon entry into the U.S.

If your dependent is currently in the U.S. in another nonimmigrant status and seeks to change status to J-2, they must complete Form I-539 and file it with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in accordance with the form’s instructions. DS-2019s can be issued only if the family members have adequate financial support and health insurance.

Study in J-2 Status

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

Dependent Employment

Dependents in J-2 status may request employment authorization from USCIS. J-2 dependents are not eligible to work without a valid employment authorization card.

Two-Year Home Country Residence Requirement

The J-2 is subject to the 2-year home country residence requirement (also known as “212(e)”) if the J-1 is subject. If the J-1 applies for and receives a waiver of the 2-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.

Effect of J-1’s Departure on J-2’s Status

The J-2’s status remains valid only while the J-1 is in the U.S. Therefore, it is not appropriate for your J-2 spouse or children to remain in the U.S. if you will be out of the U.S. for more than just a few days.

J-2 Departure

If your dependent departs the U.S. permanently prior to your program end date, please contact ISO immediately. We are required to report this information in SEVIS. We do not need to be informed of temporary departures or international travel if your dependent intends to return as a J-2.

End of Status

A J-2’s status in the U.S. terminates when the J-1’s status ends. Also, a child’s J-2 status ends when they turn 21.