Dependents - J-2 Status

Exchange visitors may request that their dependents accompany them to the U.S. during their programs. Dependents are spouses or unmarried minor children under the age of 21 of the exchange visitors.  They may accompany J-1 scholars to the United States or join them at a later date.They are eligible for admission to the United States in J-2 visa and status and will be issued individual DS-2019s.

Applying for J-2 Status

Each dependent in J-2 status must have his or her own DS-2019. If the spouse and/or dependent child will accompany the J-1 scholar the dependent section of the J-1 Request Form must be completed at the time the scholar is requesting the initial DS-2019. If the scholars are already in the U.S. they should request the DS-2019 for their dependents from International Recruitment and International Services by completing J-2 Dependent Request Form

Requirements for dependents’ DS-2019s

If scholars wish to bring their spouses or children to the United States, they need to submit to International Recruitment and International Services the following documents:

  • Financial support document (e.g. bank statement indicating that the scholar has at least, $4,500/per year or $ 375/per month for a spouse and $3,000/per year or $250/per month for each child.
  • Copy of passport biographical picture page of the dependent
  • Proof of relationship such as copy of the marriage license or child’s birth certificate

To qualify for J-2 visa and status, a dependent must demonstrate that the J-1 scholar has been admitted and is participating in the J program.


The J-2 dependents (spouse or children) may engage in full-time study.


Individuals on J-2 can be employed full-time or part-time, but must first obtain work permit from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). They should submit Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization to USCIS. The approval process could take up 3 months to complete. Employment may not begin until the J-2 has received the work permit, called the Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

J-2 dependents with employment authorization may work until the end date on the EAD card or until the J-1 principal visitor completes his or her program, whichever is earlier. If the J-1 receives an extension of stay, the J-2 dependent must re-apply for work authorization once the extension has been granted. It is recommended that applications for extensions of the EAD be made at least 3 months before the current EAD card has expired.