Only the spouse and minor children (under age 21) who accompany the primary 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 primary visa holder maintaining his/her legal status and extending his/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. For more information on B-1/B-2 visitor visas for other family members, refer to Information for inviting dependents, relatives and or friends to the U.S.
To request a DS-2019 for your dependent see International Student Affairs and provide your dependent’s full name, date and place of birth, current residential address, telephone number and email address (if applicable). When the DS-2019 is ready, you will be notified to come and pick it up.
Documents required to Apply for a J-2 Visa
- Valid passport
- J-2 dependent DS-2019
- Visa application forms and fee
- Supporting documentation including marriage certificate for a spouse, birth certificates for children and financial support information.
Important information about J-2 Status
- After dependent(s) arrive in Shepherdstown, please provide the Office of International Initiatives with a copy of their passport biographic page(s), visa stamp(s), and electronic form I-94(s).
- A J-2 spouse or child may not be admitted for longer periods of time than the principal exchange visitor. After the program completion date on the Form DS-2019, the exchange visitor J-1 and the J-2 dependents may stay in the U.S. for an additional period of 30 days; this is called the grace period. During this time, they may travel within the U.S. but may not be employed.
- The status of the J-2 may be extended when the program and Form DS-2019 of the J-1 primary is extended. However, once the J-1 primary has completed his or her program and has left the U.S., the J-2 dependents must leave as well.
- Immigration regulations require that all J-1 exchange visitors and their J-2 dependents be covered by health insurance while participating in the exchange visitor program.
- Dependent children over age 21 are not eligible for J-2 status and will need to change to another status such as F-1 (for full time students) if they wish to stay in the U.S.
Employment and Study
J-2 employment may be authorized in by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service for 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 once a year.
For more information on applying for an Employment Authorization, refer to J-2 Employment Authorization Procedures
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 their earnings.
Currently there are no regulatory restrictions on study for J-2 dependents.