A J-1 scholar's spouse and children (under the age of 21) are eligible to come to the U.S. on a J-2 visa. However, if dependents are visiting for less than six months, then they have the option of visiting on a B-2 visa instead. To see the differences in dependents coming on a J-2 visa versus a B-2 visa, please refer to the Inviting Family J-2 vs. B-1 Comparison Chart.
Any other family members (parents, children over 21 years old, siblings, etc.) are eligible to visit on a B-2 visa, but are not eligible to apply for a J-2 visa.
Scholars do not need to make an appointment with an immigration coordinator to invite family members on a B-2 status. To help family members obtain a B-2 visa, scholars are encouraged to provide their visitors with:
- A letter of invitation. Instructions on how to write a letter are available at Invitation Letter.
- Proof of funding for the duration of the visitor's stay
- Letter from the scholar's department confirming the status of the scholar and salary, if applicable
- Proof that visiting family members have strong ties with home country and do not intend to stay in the US (a permanent job, property, children, bank statement, attending school)
Any scholars who want to bring their spouse or children (under the age of 21) as a J-2 dependent need to complete the J-2 Dependent Request Form and then make an appointment with an immigration coordinator in order to create DS-2019s for them.
The spouse and unmarried children (under the age of 21) of J-1 scholars may either accompany them to the United States, or come alone on a later date. In order to apply for a J-2 visa, the dependent(s) should have the following:
- A valid passport
- Proof that the scholar has sufficient funds to meet the expenses of all J-2 dependents while in the United States. This can be shown through bank statements, affidavits of support, a letter from department confirming salary and employment, etc.
- A valid DS-2019 for each J2 dependent. Please contact an Immigration Coordinator to obtain a DS-2019 for a dependent. Please be prepared to provide the following information for each dependent: name, gender, birth date, city and country of birth, country of citizenship and country of permanent residence. You will also need to bring in proof of financial support for the dependent's estimated expenses. Currently, the required amount a scholar needs to show for EACH dependent is:
|J-2 Child (under 21):||$550||$6,600|
- A marriage or birth certificate showing the relationship to the J-1 scholar. Please make sure to have an English translation if necessary.
- A copy of the J-1's DS-2019, a passport, and I-94 Card
Reasons for denial of a visa include lack of proper documentation (such as lack of evidence of sufficient financial support), suspected excludability (such as criminal activity), or, most often, the inability to convince the consular officer that they will return to their home country after the authorized stay has ended.
Visa issuance decisions are made by the Department of State employees at U.S. embassies or consulates abroad. By statute, a consular official has absolute authority to determine the facts that will govern the issuance of a visa and the applicant has no statutory or constitutional right to review or appeal. The regulations do allow, however, for informal review of a consular officer's adverse determination. An individual who is denied a visa must be advised of the specific reasons for denial and given an opportunity to present evidence to overcome the stated objections. Applicants can reapply for a visa.
The Office of International Affairs is not able to assist dependents in reversing adverse decisions made by the U.S. embassies or consulates abroad.
Entry into the U.S.
When the family members arrive at a United States port of entry, they will present their passports containing the J-2 visa and the DS-2019 to the border patrol inspector. Upon admitting them to the United States, the inspector will stamp the Form I-94 (Arrival–Departure Record), which will show the date and place of entry, and the authorized period of stay (D/S for duration of status).
J-2 dependents are eligible to apply for work authorization. However the income from such employment cannot be for the support of the J-1 scholar. Visit J-2 Dependent Work Permission for details about how to apply for work permission through USCIS.
J-2 dependents are allowed to take classes. However, they are not eligible for certain benefits like OPT and CPT. If a J-2 wants to discuss options for studying full time, they should schedule an appointment with a Student Immigration Coordinator or stop by the Office of International Affairs from 1 - 4 p.m. on Monday through Thursday for walk-in international student advising.
J-2 dependents who would like to travel need the following:
- A valid passport which is good for at least six months into the future
- A valid Form DS-2019 signed for travel by an Immigration Coordinator
- A valid J-2 visa
- Copies of J-1's DS-2019, I-94 card and passport
- Proof of relationship to J-1 (birth or marriage certificate)