The spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 of individuals in J-1 status are eligible for J-2 status. Only the spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 will be issued Form DS-2019 to support J-2 status. If you would like to obtain J-2 status, you must request a J-2 DS-2019 from the Center for International Programs (CIP).
The J-2 status of spouses and children depends on the J-1 status of the parent or spouse. If the parent or spouse is not in status, his or her family is not in status. J-2 spouses and children must also ensure that they maintain a valid passport, valid Form DS-2019 and valid Form I-94.
Dependents eligible for J-2 status may apply for an J-2 visa stamp with their J-1 spouse or parent. Most consulates will schedule J-1 and J-2 visa applications at the same time, but it is important that consulates are informed that there will be accompanying J-2 applicants at the time that a visa application interview is scheduled. Dependents residing in the U.S. in a qualifying status may also be eligible to change to another visa status (F-1 or J-1) in the U.S. if they are residing in the U.S. in a qualifying status and begin the process well in advance of the start date on their new Form I-20 or DS-2019.
J-2 spouses and children (over the age of 14) are eligible to apply for employment authorization. Applications for employment authorization may only be filed once in the U.S. in J-2 status and can take more than three months to be adjudicated. Accordingly, no J-2 spouse or child should expect to begin any employment within three months of arriving in the U.S.
To apply for J-2 employment authorization, a J-2 applicant should prepare the following:
- Cover letter from the J-2 stating why the employment is desired, indicating the source and amount of support for the J-1, and specifically stating that the income derived from employment will not be used for the support of the J-1 exchange visitor. A J-2 does not need to demonstrate financial need to receive employment authorization.
- Complete Form I-765.
- Two passport photos. Print your name and I-94 admission number in pencil on the back of each photo, and put the photos in an envelope and attach it to the petition.
- Photocopies of any previous employment authorization cards.
- Photocopy of the page in your passport containing your photograph and the page containing any extended validity amendments.
- Photocopies of your Form DS-2019 and your spouse's or parent's DS-2019.
- Photocopies of your current Form I-94 (front and back) and photocopies of your spouse's or parent's Form I-94 (front and back).
- Check made out to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. (Visit the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, USCIS, Web site for comprehensive instructions and to confirm the filing fee and location.)
Once all materials are assembled, you should make a complete photocopy of the package and send it by courier to the appropriate USCIS Service Center. Visit the USCIS Web site to confirm which service center, and if you should file with the service center having jurisdiction over your current place of residence.