J-2 Visa: Spouse or Dependents of J-1 Visa Holders

What is the J-2 Visa?

J2 Visas are designated for spouses and minor children of J1 Visa holders. J1 Visas are for Exchange Visitors. J2 Visa holders are dependent on the J1 Visa holder’s status. If their status ends, so does the J2 Visa eligibility.

Not all exchange programs permit a spousal accompaniment. Please check your specific program for the regulations. For example, au pairs, secondary school students, camp counselors, and summer work travel do not allow J2 visas.

How can I apply for the J2 Visa?

Similarly to the first step in obtaining a J1 Visa, spouses or dependents of the J1 visa applicant must get their own Form DS 2019 from a sponsor program to start the application process. For more details on finding the right sponsor program, please visit the official J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa Program site.

Other J2 Visa Benefits

In addition to the ability to accompany a J1 Visa spouse while he or she is in a sponsored exchange program, J2 Visas also grant the following privileges:

  • J-2 Visa holders may work while in the United States but must first file for an Employment Authorization Document from the Department of Homeland Security.
  • J-2 Visa holders may also study while in the U.S. while accompanying the J-1 Visa holder
    • If the J2 Visa holder wants to extend their study beyond the time of the J1 Visa holder’s exchange visitor program, he or she must apply to switch to a F-1, International Student Visa