J-2 Visa for Exchange Visitor Dependent

The spouse and unmarried minor children of a J-1 Exchange Visitor who accompany the principal participant to the United States, or follow to join him/her here are designated as being in J-2 visa status.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Only the spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 of the J-1 Exchange Visitor are eligible for J-2 status. Other family members, such as parents, brothers, and sisters, grandparents and grandchildren are not eligible for J-2 status.
  • Financial Resources: An exchange visitor wishing to have his/her family member(s) accompany him/her must document the following additional financial sources for each family member per calendar year of intended stay: Spouse: $12,200 per calendar year; $4,200 for each child.  

Issuance of Form DS-2019

Required Documentation: A copy of the photo/information page of each dependent’s passport must be provided to the MSU Office of International Programs, along with a copy of your marriage certificate (for spouse) or birth certificate (for children) or other documentation of the relationship. All documents must be issued in English or be accompanied by a literal word-for-word translation completed by a certified translation agency.

MSU's Office of International Programs will provide a SEVIS Form DS-2019 for each J-2 dependent. The J-2 dependent will need to use the DS-2019 to obtain a J-2 visa from a U.S. Consulate or Embassy. The J-2 dependent(s) may travel at different times than the principal J-1 Exchange Visitor to the United States.

Employment of J-2 Dependents

J-2 dependents may apply to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service for permission to work. This employment and wages must not be needed to support the J-1 Exchange Visitor. Permission to work from the USCIS is not guaranteed! Please read J-2 Employment Application Procedures for further details.

Social Security taxes are deducted from the earnings of J-2 dependents. J-2 dependents are subject to Social Security taxes, federal income taxes, and state income taxes.

J-2 Health Insurance Requirement

Every J-2 Exchange Visitor is required to obtain health insurance which meets the minimum requirements specified by the U.S. Department of State. This insurance must be maintained throughout the program period on the J-1’s Form DS-2019.

Detailed insurance information can be found here.

J-2 Employment Application Procedures

Who is Eligible?

J-2 dependents are eligible for employment in the United States. However, J-2 dependents are required to apply for an Employment Authorization Card from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. With this card, the J-2 dependent may participate in any type of legal employment in the United States. United States law states that the purpose of J-2 employment must not be to support the J-1 exchange visitor.

How Do I Apply for an Employment Authorization Card?

You must make an appointment with the MSU Director of International Programs, who will assist with the process of applying for an Employment Authorization Card. The application process consists of the following: 

  • Completed Form I-765 
  • $380.00 Fee payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
  • Two passport-style photographs of the J-2 (Less than 30 days old).
  • Copies of the J-1 and J-2's current Passport Photo Pages (Be sure to include any pages that indicated an extension of the passport).
  • Copies of the J-1 and J-2's current SEVIS Forms DS-2019.
  • Copies of the Form I-94 (front and back) belonging to the J-1 and J-2.
  • Copy(ies) of any previous U.S. Employment Authorization Cards approved for the J-2.
  • Signed Letter from J-2 stating why the employment is desired:
    • In this letter, the J-2 must indicate the source and amount of support that he or she receives from the J-1.
    • The J-2 must specifically state that the income derived from employment will not be used to support the J-1 exchange visitor.
    • Note: Financial need is not a criterion for employment authorization of a J-2 dependent.



Page last updated August 25, 2017