J-2 Spouses and Children of J-1

The J-2 Visa is a non-immigrant visa issued by a consular official at a U.S. embassy or consulate for spouses and dependents (unmarried children under the age of 21) of J-1 exchange visitors who accompany or later join the J-1 holder in the United States.

Eligibility for a J-2 Visa depends on the specific exchange program being offered to the J-1 non-immigrant by sponsor organizations. Although some categories allow for spouses and/or dependents to accompany a J-1 Visa holder, there are specific programs that do not. The exchange categories of au pair, camp counselor, secondary school student and summer work travel do not permit J-2 Visas.

J-2 visitors may request work authorization from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) by submitting form I-765. Adjudication typically takes between 3 and 5 months.

If approved, an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) will be issued, authorizing the J-2 visitor for employment for a period of up to one year. Applications for additional employment authorization may be submitted annually until the end of the J-2’s status, so long as the underlying J-1 visa is still valid. However, some J-2 visa holders reported receiving EAD cards valid until the end of their J-2 visa.

J-2 visitors may enroll in academic programs as recreational or degree-seeking students. There are no enrollment requirements associated with J-2 status; students may enroll full- or part-time and discontinue their program at any time. J-2 visitors who have not completed their academic program by the time the principal J-1’s status ends may petition for a change to F-1 student status, provided they are not subject to the Two-Year Home Residency Requirement.

The application procedure is the same as that for a primary visa applicant. The sponsor must approve the accompaniment of the spouse and/or children who will each be issued their own Form DS-2019.

For more info please visit common questions on http://j1visa.state.gov/basics/j2-visa/

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