Spouse & Children


Spouses and children of those in J-1 Student category status are permitted to apply for J-2 dependent status. Depending upon your family's circumstances and plans, this may be the best status, but B-2 visitor status is also an option for short visits, if the dependent will not spend the majority of their time in the U.S. When making such decisions, the following details associated with the J-2 status should be considered.

  • J-2 dependents of those in the Research Scholar and Professor categories of the J1 are subject to a two-year bar on participation as a research scholar (prohibiting immediate change from a J-2 dependent status to J-1 Research Scholar or Professor status for post-doctoral research, visiting researcher, or adjunct or visiting teaching position);
  • J-2 dependents are subject to the two-year residence requirement, or 212(e), if their J-1 spouse is subject (this affects any change of status inside the U.S., and any application for H status, L status, or permanent residency);
  • J-2 dependents must be continuously insured for injuries or illness as described on page two of the DS-2019 form for the entire duration of the J-1 program, including time spent outside the U.S.;
  • J-2 dependent status immediately ends, with no grace period, if a dependent child turns 21, if the J-1 and J-2 divorce, or if the J-1 returns home permanently;
  • J-2 dependents may request authorization to work in the U.S. by applying to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and may work anywhere for any number of hours, but authorization typically takes 90 days to obtain, during which time they cannot work;
  • J-2 dependents must have work authorization first before engaging in ANY type of work, including child care for others, cleaning, driving, independent selling or marketing, research, or academic assistantships, or they risk termination of their status;
  • J-2 dependents who are employed must apply to USCIS for an extension of their authorization for employment (EAD) at least 3 months before it expires, in order to avoid a gap in authorization which would require them to quit work while awaiting the continued authorization;
  • J-1 and J-2 program participants have a 30 day grace period beyond the program ending date for making travel arrangements, packing belongings, and transiting but work is not permitted during that period;
  • J-2 dependents cannot stay in the U.S. after the J-1 has ended their program and exited the U.S.;
  • J-2 dependents may study in a degree or non-degree program of study in the U.S.;
  • In order to travel outside the U.S., a travel signature is needed on the DS-2019 form of each person traveling, and a valid visa and passport is required for re-entry to the U.S;
  • Dependents must report email address changes to the Center for Global Engagement for update of their government immigration record;
  • Dependents are expected to live with their J-1 spouse or parent; and
  • J-2 status must be terminated for unauthorized employment, criminal activity, violation of J program rules, willful violation or misrepresentation of insurance coverage requirements.

The USCIS form that J-2 dependents use to apply for work authorization is at https://www.uscis.gov/i-765. It is not necessary to obtain sponsor approval in this process. Be sure to fill in all fields, sign the form, and include all required documentation and the fee. Read the instructions carefully to ensure a complete application.

If Florida State University is listed as the program sponsor in box 2 of your DS-2019 form, please use the Application to Invite Dependents of J-2 Exchange Visitors to the United States, submitting the dependent’s documentation of insurance starting from the request submission date your program ending date and any documentation of additional funding that may be required for your dependent’s support. Only spouses and children are eligible for J-2 status.

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