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Adding J-2 Dependents

The spouse and unmarried minor children (under 21 years of age) of the J-1 scholar/intern is eligible for J-2 dependent status.

Each J-2 dependent must have his/her own Form DS-2019.  This DS-2019 Form can be obtained from Visa & Immigration Services (VIS) by the J-1 status holder. The addition of dependents will significantly increase the estimated expenses and will require additional financial support documentation.  J-1 Scholars/Interns wishing to request a Certificate of Eligibility (DS-2019) for their spouse and/or child(ren) must verify the availability of an additional $9,000 per year for their spouse and an additional $5,000 per year for each child. 

Initial J-1 Scholars/Interns: If a scholar/intern is applying for his/her own initial DS-2019 and will be accompanied by dependent(s), s/he needs to be sure to include dependent information (and funding should be adequate) in the appropriate section of the  J-1 Exchange Visitor Request.

Continuing J-1 Scholars/Interns: When requesting a dependent DS-2019 after the scholar/intern is in the U.S. in J-1 status, s/he must to submit all of the required forms within the  J-2 Dependent Spouse/Child Request in accessVIS, providing sufficient proof of funding. 

Upon submission of the required documents and sufficient proof of funding, a Faculty/Scholar Advisor will prepare a dependent DS-2019 marked "for use by dependents."   The J-2 dependent DS-2019 should be signed by the principal J-1 scholar/intern.  Once the dependent has a DS-2019, s/he must either:

  • Apply for a J-2 visa stamp at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate overseas (except Canadian citizens). Gain J-2 status through entry to the United States by presenting the dependent DS-2019, passport and J-2 visa stamp (accompanied by any supporting documents) at the U.S. Port of Entry.
  • Or , apply for a Change of Status in the United States. (please meet with a Faculty/Scholar Advisor at VIS for further details)

Maintaining the Immigration Status of you and your J-2 Dependent(s):

  • Intake & Check-In: When the J-2 dependent(s) arrives in the U.S., the principal J-1 scholar/intern must complete the  Immigration Intake for J-2 Dependents in  accessVIS , then bring all DS-2019 documents and family member passports to VIS for Check-In.
  • Health Insurance: Department of State federally mandates all J-1 and J-2 status holders to carry adequate health insurance coverage. The J-1 scholar/intern must purchase insurance for him/herself and his/her J-2 dependents immediately upon arrival in the U.S.  If the J-1 scholar/intern and/or dependents fail to maintain the mandatory health insurance coverage, they will be in violation of federal immigration regulations; will be subject to termination as a participant; and must leave the U.S. immediately.
  • Employment: J-2 dependents are eligible to apply for employment authorization from the USCIS as long as the employment is not for the purpose of supporting the J-1.
  • Study: J-2 dependents are permitted to enroll in elementary or secondary schools while in the U.S.  Furthermore, regulations do not prohibit dependents from engaging in post-secondary study on a full-time basis, as long as their primary purpose in the U.S. is to accompany the J-1 status holder.
  • Removing Dependents: If the J-2 dependent departs the U.S. or successfully changes his/her status to a J-1 or another non-immigrant status, the J-1 principal visa holder must have his/her name and dependent expenses removed from the form DS-2019. To do so, login to  accessVIS  and complete the electronic  Removal of J-2 Dependent request form.