Dependents on J-2 Visa

Your spouse and children younger than 21 are eligible to accompany you to the U.S.

The J-2 visa is a dependent visa. Eligible dependents are the spouse and unmarried minor children (under 21 years of age) of the J-1 exchange visitor. This does not include U.S. citizens (e.g., children born in the U.S.). Other family members, such as parents, brothers, sisters, etc. are NOT eligible; however, they may be eligible for short-term visits as B-2 or WT tourists.

Please note: Dependents are not required to enter on a J-2 dependent visa. They may enter as tourists or in other visa classes for which they qualify. For shorter visits (3 months or less), a tourist visa may be the most appropriate choice.

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Funding Requirement

The J-1 exchange visitor is required to show adequate funding for their dependents for the entire length of the J-1 program. Funding requirements are:

# of DependentsRequired Dollars per Month

Health Insurance Requirement

The J-1 exchange visitor is required to provide their dependents with adequate health insurance, as required by the J Exchange Visitor visa regulations.

The University of Minnesota requires all international scholars, student-interns, and accompanying dependents to purchase the University’s insurance, the Student Health Benefit Plan (SHBP). See the health insurance information for studentsscholars and student-interns to learn more, and review our Frequently Asked Questions about J-2 Health Insurance.

Visa Application at U.S. Embassy or Consulate

The J-2 applicant should present:

  • The original J-2 DS-2019 signed by ISSS and the J-2. If the J-2 is under age 16, the J-1 must sign on their behalf.
  • Evidence of J-1 funding that appears on the J-2 DS-2019
  • Marriage license or birth certificate (for children)
  • Evidence of intent to return to home country upon the completion of the J-1 visitor's program
  • Passport

Initial Entry into the U.S.

The J-2 dependent can either accompany the J-1 exchange visitor when they enter the U.S. or may join the J-1 at a later date. Each dependent needs to have a dependent DS-2019 and a J-2 visa stamp (Canadian citizens do not need a visa) to enter the U.S. in J-2 status.

The J-1 exchange visitor is required to show sufficient funding for themself and their dependent(s) for the remaining time left in the J-1 program.

Once the J-2 receives the Dependent DS-2019, they will need to apply for a J-2 visa stamp at a U.S. consulate outside the U.S.

  • Dependent accompanying J-1 on initial entry
    If J-2 dependents come to the U.S. with the J-1 exchange visitor when first starting their J-1 program, the J-2's DS-2019 must be requested along with the J-1 visitor’s initial DS-2019 request. Information for each J-2 dependent must be provided in the UMN Department Request for DS-2019, which is submitted to ISSS by the J-1’s UMN hosting department.
  • Dependent joining the J-1 at a later date
    If J-2 dependents will join the J-1 visitor in the U.S. after the J-1 visitor's program has already started, the J-1 should download and complete the J-2 Dependent DS-2019 Request form. Once completed, the J-1 must visit ISSS to submit to a J-1 adviser in person the application and additional documentation as requested on the application.
  • Find and download forms for Scholars, Student-Interns, and Students.

Re-entry to the U.S.

J-2 dependents who plan to temporarily depart the U.S. and re-enter will need appropriate re-entry documents. The J-1 visitor will need to request the dependent travel document during ISSS Walk-In Hours.

  • J-2 dependents will need a valid re-entry signature on Page 1 of the Dependent DS-2019. If the information on the dependent DS-2019 is no longer accurate (such as program information or financial information), the J-1 visitor must request a new DS-2019 for themself and the dependent(s) that provides correct information.
  • J-2 dependents who plan to travel to Canada or Mexico for less than 30 days are not required to have a valid entry visa stamp in their passport for re-entry into the U.S., but they will need a re-entry signature on their SEVIS Dependent DS-2019.
  • J-2 dependents traveling to a country other than their home country should determine if they are required to have a tourist visa to enter that country.
  • J-2 dependents re-entering the U.S. must be prepared to present to U.S. Port of Entry evidence of the funding noted on the DS-2019 and an unofficial transcript, if the J-1 is a student. This documentation is in addition to the passport, entry visa stamp, and the dependent DS-2019.

Please note: It is unclear how the status of a dependent visa holder is affected if the dependent remains in the U.S. when the principal visa holder is temporarily absent from the U.S. It is recommended that the J-2 dependent not remain in the U.S. if the J-1 visitor will be absent for more than 30 days.


J-2 dependents are eligible to apply to DHS for employment authorization as long as the employment is not for the purpose of supporting the J-1 visitor. J-2 dependents may not begin employment until they receive a valid Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from the DHS.

If the J-2 is interested in applying for work permission, they may download the application for J-2 work permission. As explained in the instructions, the completed application is sent by the J-2 directly to a USCIS lockbox in Phoenix, Arizona. The application will be given to the appropriate USCIS office for approval. After USCIS receives J-2 work permission applications, it typically takes 2 to 3 months to receive the EAD (work authorization card) in the mail via the U.S. Postal Service.

After receiving the EAD, the J-2 dependent may apply for a Social Security Number. A J-2 dependent who does not plan on working is not eligible for a Social Security Number.

Even if you possess an unexpired EAD, you must stop work if the J-1 status is not maintained (e.g. change of status or shortened program) or if J-2 eligibility (e.g. divorce, child reaches 21st birthday) prevents continued J-2 status.

Please note: J-2 dependents may not "volunteer" in positions where others receive compensation to perform the same services.


J-2 dependents are allowed to enroll as part-time or full-time students at U.S. colleges or universities. Children in J-2 status are able to attend public school in the U.S.

Last updated: May 18, 2021