International Scholars

J-2 Dependents

J-2 dependents

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.

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:

Any scholars who want to bring their spouse or children (under the age of 21) as a J-2 dependent need to complete the following steps in order to create DS-2019s for them:

Visa information

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:

   Monthly  Yearly
 J-2 Spouse:  $750  $9,000
 J-2 Child (under 21):  $550  $6,600

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).

Work authorization

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.

Taking classes

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: