J-2 Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible for J-2 status?

The spouse and unmarried minor children (under 21 years of age) of the J-1 exchange visitor are eligible for J-2 status.

When can my J-2 spouse and children come to the U.S.?

J-2 dependents may not enter the U.S. unless the J-1 is in the U.S. or accompanies the dependents. In other words, if a J-2 dependent enters separately from the J-1, the J-1 must arrive in the U.S. first.  See Inviting Family to the U.S. for more information.

What documents should a J-2 be prepared to present at the U.S. port of entry?

J-2 dependents should have a valid passport with a valid J-2 visa stamp. They should also have their own DS-2019 form and proof of the funding noted on the DS-2019.

How long can my J-2 dependents remain in the U.S.?

J-2 dependents are permitted to stay in the U.S. as long as the J-1 is in the U.S. If the J-1 is approved for an extension of his/her program, the status of the J-2 dependents is automatically extended.

How can a J-2 dependent report an early departure, or early ending of J-2 status?

J-2 dependents who end their program early, either because they've exited the U.S. and will not return again in J-2 status, or due to a change in nonimmigrant visa status, should report this to BIO at internationaloffice@berkeley.edu

Can J-2 dependents get work permission?

J-2 dependents may apply to USCIS for work permission as long as the employment is not to provide financial support for the J-1. Processing by USCIS takes an average of 3-5 months. It is not necessary for a J-2 dependent to show proof of special skills or a job offer to receive a work permit.

Can J-2 dependents study?

Yes, J-2 dependents are eligible for part-time or full-time study at every level of education. However, Berkeley International Office recommends that a J-2 visitor who plans to enroll in an undergraduate or graduate degree program speak with an Advisor about the benefits of changing status to a separate student visa.

Can a J-2 get a Social Security Number/Card?

J-2 dependents are not eligible for a Social Security card unless they have received an EAD from USCIS.

Are J-2 dependents required to have health insurance in the U.S.?

J-2 dependents must have health insurance coverage that meets the minimum amounts required by the U.S. Department of State.