Spouses and Dependents
J-2 Visa for Exchange Visitor Dependent
The spouse and unmarried minor children of a J-1 Exchange Visitor who accompany the principal participant to the United States, or follow to join him/her here are designated as being in J-2 visa status.
Only the spouse and unmarried minor children of the J-1 Exchange Visitor are eligible for J-2 status. Other family members, such as parents, brothers, and sisters, are not eligible.
Issuance of Form DS-2019
International Scholar Services will provide a SEVIS Form DS-2019 for each J-2 dependent. The J-2 dependent will need to use the DS-2019 to obtain a J-2 visa from a U.S. Consulate or Embassy. The J-2 dependent(s) may travel at different times than the principal J-1 Exchange Visitor to the United States.
Employment of J-2 Dependents
J-2 dependents may apply to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service for permission to work. This employment and wages must not be needed to support the J-1 Exchange Visitor. Permission to work from the USCIS is not guaranteed! Please read J-2 Employment Application Procedures for further details.
Social Security taxes are deducted from the earnings of J-2 dependents. J-2 dependents are subject to Social Security taxes, federal income taxes, and state income taxes.
J-2 Health Insurance Requirement
Every J-2 Exchange Visitor is required to obtain health insurance which meets the minimum requirements specified by the U.S. Department of State. This insurance must be maintained throughout the program period on the J-1’s Form DS-2019.
Insurance shall cover:
- Medical benefits of at least $50,000 per person per accident or illness.
- Repatriation of remains in the amount of $7,500.
- Expenses associated with medical evacuation in the amount of $10,000.
- Additional Terms: A policy secured to fulfill the insurance requirements shall not have a deductible that exceeds $500 per accident or illness.
- Maintenance of Insurance: Willful failure on the part of the Exchange Visitor to maintain the required insurance will result in the termination of the Exchange Visitor Program of the individual(s) in question.
J-2 Employment Application Procedures
Who is Eligible?
J-2 dependents are eligible for employment in the United States. However, J-2 dependents are required to apply for an Employment Authorization Card from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. With this card, the J-2 dependent may participate in any type of legal employment in the United States. United States law states that the purpose of J-2 employment must not be to support the J-1 exchange visitor.
How Do I Apply for an Employment Authorization Card?
The application process consists of the following:
- Completion of Form I-765 $410.00 Fee payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
- Two passport-style photographs of the J-2 (Less than 30 days old).
- Copies of the J-1 and J-2's current Passport Photo Pages (Be sure to include any pages that indicated an extension of the passport).
- Copies of the J-1 and J-2's current SEVIS Forms DS-2019.
- Copies of the Form I-94 (front and back) belonging to the J-1 and J-2.
- Copy(ies) of any previous U.S. Employment Authorization Cards approved for the J-2.
- Signed Letter from J-2 stating why the employment is desired:
- In this letter, the J-2 must indicate the source and amount of support that he or she receives from the J-1.
- The J-2 must specifically state that the income derived from employment will not be used to support the J-1 exchange visitor.
- Note: Financial need is not a criterion for employment authorization of a J-2 dependent.
H-4 Visa for Dependent of H-1B Visa Employee
Spouses and unmarried minor children (under 21 years of age) of an H-1B alien are considered H-4 dependents.
H-4 visa status prohibits employment authorization. If an H-4 dependent qualifies for specialty employment in his or her own right, a change of status to H-1B is necessary before such employment may be undertaken.
H-4 dependents may study in the United States on a full-time or part-time basis. Dependents should weigh the benefits of changing their status to F-1 versus remaining in H-4 status. H-4 dependents are not subject to F-1 requirement to pursue a full course of study. However, H-4 dependents are not eligible for F-1 benefits such as on-campus employment and practical training.
When H-4 dependent children turn 21, they are no longer considered "children" under U.S. law. They are no longer eligible for H-4 status. In order to remain in the United States, they must change to another nonimmigrant status, such as F-1 for full-time students.
TD Visa for Dependent of a TN Visa Employee
Dependents of TN status holders are admitted into the United States in TD (Trade Dependent) status. TD status holders may attend the University of North Dakota on a part-time or full-time basis. TD visa holders are not authorized to work in the United States.