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J-2 Dependents

J-2 dependents are defined as a spouse or an unmarried child under 21 years of age of a J-1 student.

J-2 dependents remain in status as long as the student remains in valid J-1 status, and only until age 21 (if a dependent child).  

J-2 Study Restrictions
  • J-2 dependents can study without any limitations (ex. part-time, full-time, degree seeking, non-degree seeking).
J-2 dependents can study without any limitations (ex. part-time, full-time, degree seeking, non-degree seeking).

J-2 and Employment
  • J-2 dependents may apply to USCIS for permission to work, as long as such employment is not used to support the J-1 student.
  • Application processing can take 2-3 months.
  • Dependents may not begin employment until the start date printed on the Employment Authorization Document. 
J-2 and Travel
  • May enter the U.S. with or after the J-1 nonimmigrant, but never before;
  • Must have a program sponsor’s travel signature on their DS-2019 when traveling outside of and re-entering the U.S.
  • May not remain in the U.S. if the J-1 student is absent from the U.S. unless the absence is temporary (usually 30 days or less).

J-2 Insurance Requirement
  • J-1 visitors are required to carry health insurance for themselves and their J-2 dependents meeting specific requirements set forth by federal regulations, for the entire duration of their J-1 program.
Inviting a J-2 Dependent
  • J-2 dependents may accompany a J-1 student when he/she enters the U.S., or join the student later.  J-1 students will need to request issuance of a J-2 DS-2019 for each family member joining them. 
  • The process below ONLY applies to J-1 students whose DS-2019 is issued by ESU (check item 2 “Program Sponsor” on your DS-2019).  If your DS-2019 is not issued by ESU, contact your program sponsor.
  • What you will need:
  • Dependent’s passport ID page(s)
  • Verification of financial ability (Federal regulations require that you have enough funds to support yourself and any dependents that accompany you for the duration of your program):
    • ESU Funding: If you have a GA/GRA/GTA, Lecturer position, fellowship or departmental scholarship, provide your offer letter/contract that outines your salary and benefit information.
    • Other funding (e.g. personal, family, home government): Upload current evidence of financial support that shows the additional dependent expense amount needed for the remainder of your program. Make sure to calculate the total amount based on the number of dependents and the number of years remaining on your DS-2019.


Note: If you have already started a request, do not start a new request. Please go to your User Home Page to continue working on your request. 

When can I pick up the Dependent DS-2019?

An OIE advisor will prepare the necessary SEVIS dependent DS-2019(s).  An OIE staff member will notify the student by e-mail when the form is available to be picked up.  This generally takes three (3) business days. The student's dependent(s) will then use the DS-2019(s) to apply for a J-2 dependent visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in his/her home country, or to apply for a change of status to J-2 within the U.S.