Immediate family members (spouse and children) of the J-1 Exchange Visitor are J-2 dependents. Unmarried partners are not eligible for J-2 status.
Regulations of the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program require that dependents who will enter the U.S. either with the J-1 or subsequent to the J-1's entry need their own DS-2019 forms. They will also need to use these forms for initial and subsequent entries either with or separate from the J-1, during the J-1's program.
A travel signature for subsequent entries will also be needed in the travel validation section of the document, after the document has been used for the initial entry.
The DS-2019 for dependents is like the document issued to the principal in every respect except the name of the J-1 principal is listed below the name of the J-2 Dependent.
Departments (for J-1 scholars and Visiting Researchers) and incoming J-1 students are urged to request DS-2019 forms for dependents of the J-1 at the same time they request the J-1 DS-2019, by including the dependent biographic information on the DS-2019 Request Form.
It is also strongly recommended that all family members apply for entry visas at the same time. Dependents who apply for entry visas after the principal (J-1) Visitor may find their application process more difficult in the absence of the principal.
If the DS-2019s for the J-1 and the dependents are issued at the same time and they all apply for and are granted the visas at the same time, the J-2 dependents can enter the U.S. at any time during the program dates noted on the DS-2019. The International Center provides no documentation beyond the DS-2019 to facilitate travel or entry visa applications by dependents. Families may be required by the Consular officials to provide evidence of the relationship to the J-1 through birth and marriage certificates.
After their arrival, J-2 dependents are eligible to request work authorization from the USCIS. Applicants must be in the US in J-2 status; the application cannot be submitted prior to arrival. The instructions and a link to the form I-765 can be found here.
Families should access our International Spouse and Family pages on our web site.
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