Spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 are eligible for dependent immigration status based on you as the primary immigration beneficiary. J-1 dependents hold J-2 status. Each dependent must apply separately for an individual visa.

Coming to the US for the first time

Before you apply for a J-2 DS-2019 for your dependents, please consider the following:

  1. They should only apply for a J-2 visa if they plan to stay with you for the entire duration of your J 1 program. If they will not, they should apply for a B1/B2 Tourist visa or ESTA to come visit you.
  2. They must have valid health insurance for the entire duration of their J-2 DS-2019, even if they are not in the US.
  3. They will be subject to the same repeat participation bars and two years home residency requirement than you.

Your dependents will need their own individual Forms DS-2019s to apply for their first visa to enter the US. A section of our Background Information Form is reserved to collect information about your dependents. But, if you wish to add them later on, we will need the following:

  1. Copies of passport(s) biographical page(s)
  2. Copies of child(ren)’s birth certificate(s) and English translation
  3. Copy of marriage certificate and English translation
  4. From all, the following details:
    1. city of birth,
    2. country of birth,
    3. country of citizenship,
    4. and country of legal permanent residence.

Once we have the necessary documents, ISSS Office will issue your dependent’s DS-2019. The dates listed will be the same as yours.

They will also need to complete and submit a From DS-160, pay the necessary visa fees, and go to a visa interview, either at the same time as you, or separately. Your dependents can then enter the US with their own J-2 visa, their original DS-2019s and a copy of your DS-2019.

For the type of documents requested for the interview, please see "Minimum Supporting Documents requested" under Receiving your DS-2019 and booking a visa appointment.

Employment Authorization Document for J-2 Spouses

Your J-2 spouse can apply for work authorization in the US by filing a Form I-765 with USCIS. When the Form I-765 is approved, USCIS will mail your spouse a plastic work card known as “EAD” or “Employment Authorization Document”. Without this work card, your spouse cannot work in the US and will not be eligible for a Social Security Number (SSN).

If your spouse does not want to work in the US, your spouse can request an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) from the Social Security Administration for health insurance and tax purposes. Dependents can also obtain an Alabama driver's license and enroll in classes part-time or full-time.

J-2 dependent’s income from the work must not be for the support of the primary J-1 to whom the J-2 is related. J-2s may work only if the income is to be used for their own support (and perhaps that of other people in the family).

Procedure:

To apply for work authorization as a J-2 visa holder, assemble the following documents:

  • Completed Form I-765 (available on USCIS website). Please be sure to download the Form from USCIS website to get the most recent one.
    • Part 2, question 1 – full legal name as it appears on the passport of the J-2 applicant
    • Part 2, questions 14 and 15 – be sure to answer yes if you don’t have a Social Security Number
    • Part 2, questions 16 and 17 – be sure to answer if you answered yes to the previous questions
    • Part 2, question 21 to 24 – relevant information are available on your passport and most recent I 94 (I-94 website, including under the travel history tab).
    • Part 2, question 25 – current status is J-2
    • Part 2, question 26 – the SEVIS # is listed on the right upper corner of the J-2 Dependent’s DS 2019
    • Part 2, question 27 – eligibility category is (c)(5)
    • Part 2, questions 28 to 31 – leave it blank
  • Cover letter indicating that your income will not serve to support the primary J-1 primary
  • Two recent, passport-style photos in an envelope labeled with your name (see specifications)
  • $410 check or money order made payable to “US Department of Homeland Security” (no abbreviation)
  • Printout of Form I-94 (yours and your J-1 relative’s)
  • Copies of the biographical, visa, and expiration (if applicable) pages in passport (yours and your J-1 relative’s)
  • Copy of your marriage certificate with a certified translation in English
  • Copies of all DS-2019s (yours and your J-1 relative’s)
  • Cover letter requesting work authorization (see sample)

Complete and detailed instructions are available on USCIS website under the tab “Instructions for Form I-765

Paperwork should be printed one sided only, stapled, and mailed via certified/return receipt mail (copy or scan all documents before mailing) to:

If using regular U.S. Postal Service (USPS):

USCIS
P.O. Box 660867
Dallas, TX 75266

If using FedEx, UPS or DHL:

USCIS
Attn: NFB AOS
2501 S. State Hwy. 121 Business
Suite 400
Lewisville, TX 75067

Extending status from inside the US

A J-2 dependent’s status depends entirely on the primary J-1 status. Therefore, as soon as the J-1 status is extended, all J-2 dependent(s) listed in SEVIS will also be extended. We will need copy of proof of continued insurance.