Your unmarried children under age 21 and your spouse may accompany you as your J-2 dependents. If you have other family members or dependents who do not qualify for J-2 status, FSIS can provide information on visa types for which they may be eligible. Each J-2 dependent must be included in the DS-2019 request your UH sponsoring unit submits to FSIS. Each person must have his/her own DS-2019.
If your family members will be joining you after your UH J-1 program has started, your UH sponsoring unit should submit a DS-2019 request for dependents to FSIS.
If your family members will be joining you from abroad, review the J-1 entry procedures for information on the visa application and entry procedures for J-2 dependents.
Financial support of dependents
Long absence from the U.S.
Changes of status
2-year foreign residence requirement (Sec. 212(e))
12-month & 24-month bars
Financial support of dependents [top]
As the J-1 exchange visitor, you are responsible for ensuring that your dependents are financially supported while they are in the U.S. If your salary, stipend, or funding amount will not cover the minimum amount requirements to support your family, you must submit evidence of additional financial support for your dependents.
When your dependents apply for J-2 visas, the U.S. Embassy/Consulate determines whether your family has sufficient funds to cover basic living costs in the U.S. If the consular officer has any reason to think a prospective J-2 has a prior intention of working in the U.S., the J-2 visa may be denied. The officer may also expect your family to have return tickets or funds set aside for return transportation prior to departure for the U.S. Due to these consular requirements, you are required to submit evidence of sufficient funds for family support before UH will issue DS-2019s for family members.
Work authorization [top]
If your J-2 dependent finds it necessary to work once he/she arrives in the U.S., he/she must submit a Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) after arriving in the U.S. Working without USCIS authorization is illegal and makes the J-2 subject to removal from the U.S. I-765 applications generally take about 90 days to be adjudicated at USCIS. There is no guarantee that USCIS will approve an I-765 application. If work authorization is granted, income from employment may be used only to support the J-2 spouse and children; the income may not be used to support the J-1.
J-2 work authorization is not automatically extended with extensions of J-2 status. To continue working, the J-2 dependent must apply for renewal of his/her work authorization by filing an I-765 application with USCIS at least 100 days before the current card expires.
The application should be put together in the following order:
- I-765 filing fee in the form of a check/money order made payable to the “Department of Homeland Security.” The fee amount is currently $380.
- Form I-765, downloaded from the USCIS website. Click on “Forms” and scroll down to Form I-765. For item #16, the J-2 employment eligibility category is (c)(5).
- Brief cover letter (see sample letter) requesting work authorization and giving the reasons for seeking work authorization. Employment will not be authorized if the J-2’s income is needed to support the J-1.
- Evidence showing that J-2 employment is not necessary to support the J-1, such as a certification letter from the J-1’s UH sponsoring unit’s Administrative/Personnel Officer stating the UH appointment dates and salary or stipend amount or other evidence of the J-1’s financial support.
- Copy of the J-1’s current DS-2019.
- Copy of the J-2’s current DS-2019.
- Copy of the front and back sides of the J-2’s current Form I-94 card (if any) OR I-94 printout from CBP's I-94 website and a copy of the admission stamp with notations.
- Copy of the front and back sides of the J-2’s last Employment Authorization Document (EAD) if the J-2 was previously issued one and he/she is applying for a renewal of work authorization.
- TWO passport-style photographs taken no earlier than 30 days before submission to USCIS. The J-2 should write his/her name on the back of each photo with a pencil. Suggestion: put each photo in separate small plastic bags and staple the bags to the application.
- Copies of the J-2’s passport pages with his/her picture and biodata on them. This is to establish identity so the EAD will be mailed to the J-2 at the address entered on the I-765.
Keep copies of everything you send to USCIS – if the application gets lost, it will be easier to replace everything. Double-check that all required documents are attached. If the application is incomplete or the photos are unacceptable, it will be returned to you. You may correct the deficiency and resubmit the application, but it will not be considered properly filed until USCIS accepts it. Staple everything together in the upper left hand corner so your documents do not become separated.
Mail the entire application to the USCIS Phoenix Lockbox:
For U.S. Postal Service (USPS) deliveries:
PO Box 21281
Phoenix, AZ 85036
For Express mail and courier deliveries:
1820 E. Skyharbor Circle S
Phoenix, AZ 85034
USCIS receipt notice
The USCIS Service Center will send the J-2 a receipt notice when the application is accepted. Please keep this notice; you will need the receipt number to check on the status of the application.
Employment Authorization Document (EAD)
If USCIS approves the application, the J-2 will receive an EAD, which is a photo identification card that can be used for employment in the U.S., at the address he/she entered on the I-765 application form.
Full-time study [top]
For now, J-2 dependents may undertake full-time study in the U.S., including in K-12 programs. When the SEVIS final rule is issued, J-2s may not be allowed to conduct full-time postsecondary study in the U.S.
J-2 extensions [top]
If you receive an extension of J-1 status, your dependents may receive J-2 extensions for the same duration. Your UH sponsoring unit should include your dependents on the DS-2019 extension request for your J-1 status.
Long absence from the U.S. [top]
If you leave the U.S. for an extended absence, your dependents are required to leave the U.S. with you even if you have not yet completed your program.
Changes of status [top]
Another nonimmigrant status (e.g. F-2, H-4) to J-2: See Changing your Status to J-1 for information on how to change your dependents’ status to J-2 from a different nonimmigrant status.
J-2 to another nonimmigrant status (e.g. F-1, H-1B): A J-2 who is subject to the 212(e) 2-year foreign residence requirement cannot change to another nonimmigrant visa status (except A or G) within the U.S. If a J-2 is not subject to the 212(e) requirement, a change from J-2 to another nonimmigrant visa status may be possible.
J-2 to J-1 status: If a J-2 has been in the U.S. for more than 6 months within the previous 12-month period, he/she is not eligible for the J-1 professor or research scholar categories. See the 12-Month and 24-Month Bars Chart for more information. Opportunities for a change from J-2 to J-1 status are rare, except for students who are offered a scholarship or graduate assistantship by a university. Thus, if a J-2 dependent strongly wishes to pursue a degree, he or she should apply for admission while still in the home country and enter the U.S. on a student visa specifically for that purpose.
2-year foreign residence requirement (sec. 212(e)) [top]
Certain J-1 exchange visitors and their J-2 dependents become subject to the 2-year foreign residence requirement
as a result of participating in the Exchange Visitor Program. J-1s and J-2s who are subject to this requirement must spend a total of
at least 2 years in their home country after the J-1 has completed his/her program before they can return to the U.S.
with an H or L nonimmigrant work visa or an immigrant visa. The purpose
of this requirement is to ensure the home country benefits from the
exchange visitor's experiences in the U.S. Foreign nationals who are
subject to this requirement cannot change to another visa status (except
"A" or "G") while in the U.S. nor can they obtain lawful permanent
residence until they either fulfill the 2 year requirement or obtain a
waiver of the requirement.
The U.S. DOS Waiver Review Division
has the final authority to determine whether a J-1 or J-2 is subject to this
requirement. When UH issues Form DS-2019, when a U.S. Embassy/Consulate
issues a visa, and when a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer
admits an individual at a port of entry, preliminary determinations are made on
whether he/she is subject to the requirement. If you disagree with any of
these preliminary determinations, you may write to the DOS Waiver Review
Division to request an advisory opinion on whether you are subject to
the requirement. See the DOS Waiver Review Division website for more information.
12-month & 24-month bars [top]
on the J-1's exchange visitor category or the length of the J-1 program, a J-1 exchange visitor and his/her
J-2 dependents may be subject to a 12-month or 24-month bar on repeat
participation as a J-1 research scholar or professor - that is, they may be prevented from returning to the U.S. in the J-1 research scholar and professor categories for 12 or 24 months. See the 12-Month and 24-Month Bars Chart for more information.