What is a J-2 Visa?
J-2 Visas are designated for spouses and minor children of J-1 Visa holders. J-1 Visas are for Exchange Visitors. J-2 Visa holders are dependent on the J-1 Visa holder’s status. If their status ends, so does the J-2 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 J-2 visas.
J-2 visa holders are not subject to the two-year home-country physical presence requirement, which applies to some J-1 visa holders. J-2 visa holders are allowed to work in the U.S. with authorization from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Who Qualifies for J-2 Visa?
To qualify for a J-2 visa, an applicant must meet the following criteria:
- They must be the spouse or a dependent child of a J-1 visa holder.
- They must have a valid reason for their trip, such as accompanying the J-1 visa holder during their exchange visitor program or joining them later.
- They must have enough money to cover the expenses of their trip and stay in the United States.
- They must not have a criminal record or pose a security threat to the United States.
- They must not have previously violated the terms of a U.S. visa or immigration laws.
- They must not have any communicable disease or be otherwise inadmissible to the United States.
- They must be able to show ties to their home country that they do not intend to abandon and intend to return after their J-2 visa expired.
How to Apply for J-2 Visa?
Similarly to the first step in obtaining a J-1 Visa, spouses or dependents of the J-1 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.
To apply for a J-2 visa, you will need to follow these steps:
- Gather required documents: You will need to provide proof of your relationship to the J-1 visa holder, such as a marriage or birth certificate, and proof of financial support.
- Complete the online visa application form (DS-160) and pay the visa application fee.
- Schedule an interview at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
- Prepare for the interview: Gather all required documents, including a valid passport, a photo, proof of financial support, proof of relationship to the J-1 visa holder, and any additional documents that may be required by the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
- Attend the interview and provide all required documents.
- Wait for the decision on your application.
What is the J-2 Interview Process?
The J-2 visa interview process is similar to the J-1 visa interview process. The steps typically include:
- Scheduling an interview: After submitting your online application (DS-160) and paying the visa application fee, you will need to schedule an interview at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. The availability of interview slots may vary depending on your location and the time of year.
- Gather required documents: Before the interview, you will need to gather all required documents, including your valid passport, a photo, proof of financial support, proof of relationship to the J-1 visa holder and any additional documents that may be required by the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
- Attend the interview: During the interview, a consular officer will ask you questions about your background, your relationship to the J-1 visa holder, and your plans while in the United States. You will also need to provide the consular officer with all of the required documents.
- Wait for a decision: After the interview, the consular officer will review your application and make a decision. It may take several days or even weeks for the decision to be made.
- Get the Visa: If your visa is approved, you will need to pay a visa issuance fee (if applicable) and then you can pick up your visa at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate, or have it sent to your address.
What are the Required Documents for J-2 Visa?
To apply for a J-2 visa, the applicant must submit the following documents:
- A valid passport
- A completed and signed online visa application form (DS-160)
- A 2×2 inch photograph that meets the requirements for passport photos
- Proof of relationship to the J-1 visa holder
- Proof of financial support
What is the J-2 Visa Fee?
The J-2 visa fee is currently $160.00 for most applicants. This fee is subject to change and can vary based on the applicant’s country of origin and other factors.
What is the J-2 Processing Time?
The processing time for a J-2 visa can vary depending on a number of factors such as the applicant’s country of origin, the time of year, and the workload of the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where the application is being processed. It’s difficult to give a general processing time as it can depend on the specific program, the U.S. Embassy or Consulate, and the applicant’s individual circumstances. It’s always good to apply as early as possible, but it’s also recommended to check with the program sponsor and the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you will be applying for the most current processing time information.
J-2 Visa Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently asked questions about J-2 visas:
- What are the eligibility requirements for a J-2 visa?
- The J-2 visa holder must be the spouse or dependent child of a J-1 visa holder and must be able to demonstrate that they are coming to the US for a legitimate purpose, such as accompanying the J-1 holder for the duration of their stay or for the purpose of enrolling in school.
- Can a J-2 visa holder work in the US?
- Yes, J-2 visa holders are allowed to work in the US, but they must first obtain an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
- Can a J-2 visa holder study in the US?
- Yes, J-2 visa holders are allowed to study in the US, but they must be able to support themselves financially without relying on the J-1 holder’s funds.
- How long is a J-2 visa valid for?
- The J-2 visa is valid for the same duration as the J-1 holder’s visa.
- How to apply for a J-2 Visa?
- The J-2 visa holder must submit a completed Form DS-2019, provided by the J-1 holder’s program sponsor, along with other required documents such as a valid passport, proof of financial support and a completed Form DS-160 (Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application) to a US embassy or consulate.
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.
- File Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization to apply for the eligibility to work while on the J2 Visa
- 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