Extension of J-2 employment
A J-2 spouse or dependent child must file Form I-765 with all
supporting documentation each time an extension of employment
authorization is necessary. Since the EAD cannot be issued for longer
than the validity of the DS-2019, any necessary extension of stay of the
J-1 must be processed prior to the application for extension of J-2
In order to avoid interruptions in J-2 employment authorization, it
is important to file the Form I-765 for extension of employment
authorization sufficiently in advance (but no more than 120 days in
advance) so that the extension application is approved before the
expiration of the current grant of authorization. J-2 employment
authorization expires with the expiration of the EAD, and the mere
filing of an application for new authorization does not permit
employment during the adjudication process. If the current EAD has
expired, the J-2 must cease employment until receiving the new EAD
Unlike J-1 exchange visitors, J-2 dependents are subject to Social
Security taxes. They are also subject to federal income taxes, and where
applicable, state income taxes. [See IRS publication 519,
United States Tax Guide for Aliens .]
Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, lists the unexpired
Employment Authorization Document as a document that establishes both
identity and employment eligibility for use in List A.
A J-2 dependent will not be able to obtain a Social Security number
unless in possession of an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
There is no regulatory restriction on study for J-2 dependents
J-2 dependents are covered by the extension of stay granted to
the principal J-1 participant. However, the new J-2 DS-2019s do not
automatically print out with the J-1's form. To generate the
dependent forms, go into Reprint, and select
other as the reprint reason, and give the reason "extend
A J-2 dependent who wishes to travel outside the United States
for a temporary visit and to reenter the country follows the same
procedures as a J-1 principal participant. Proper documentation to
reenter the United States includes:
- A valid passport and J-2 visa; and
- A currently valid SEVIS Form DS-2019 issued in the name of
the J-2 dependent, properly endorsed for travel by the RO/ARO
The same regulations and procedures for automatic extension of
visas apply to the J-2 dependent as to the J-1 principal
A special situation arises when the principal J-1 participant
travels outside the United States, leaving the J-2 dependent(s) in
the United States. Since the dependent's stay in the United States
is valid only while the J-1 participant maintains status here, it is
not legitimate for the dependent to remain in the United States
while the J-1 exchange visitor is absent from the country for any
significant period of time. This period is not specified in the
regulations. Circumstances such as continued enrollment for students
or continued employment for scholars during the period of absence
should be taken into account.
DOS has stated that for J program purposes, the J-1 principal
remains in valid "program status" during a short absence, provided
the DS-2019 is valid and has been signed for re-entry. In addition,
the activity abroad must relate to the purpose of the program in the
United States [NAFSA-USIA liaison meeting, December 9, 1996].
Neither USCIS nor DOS provide regulatory guidance for J exchange
visitors in this situation.
A J-2 dependent's status terminates in the United States when
that of the J-1 participant terminates. The dependent reports his or
her departure from the United States in the same way as the J-1
participant, by surrendering Form I-94 at the time of departure.
Program sponsors have no special responsibilities for reporting
departure or termination of program for the J-2 dependent as they do
for the J-1 participant.
J-2 dependents are derivatively subject to some restrictions
applied to J-1s.
If the J-1 principal participant is subject to the 212(e) 2-year
home country physical presence requirement, his or her J-2 dependent
spouse and children are automatically subject to that requirement as
Waivers for J-1 exchange visitors cover J-2 dependents, unless
those dependents have a separate home residence requirement based on
their own previous J-1 status.
In some cases, a J-2 can get a waiver independently. In the event
of divorce or death of the J-1, DOS will consider acting as an
interested government agency and recommending the waiver based on
humanitarian considerations. Occasionally, a J-2 child can obtain a
waiver, for example if he or she marries or turns 21.
Prior physical presence in the United States in J-2 status may
subject the individual to the 12-month bar on eligibility to
participate in a J-1 professor or research scholar program.
DOS has stated that a J-2 dependent of a J-1 professor or
research scholar is subject to the 24-month bar on repeat
participation in those categories, along with the J-1.
Restrictions and procedures for a J-2 wishing to change status to
another nonimmigrant category are the same as those followed by the
J-1 principal, although in addition to documenting that the J-2 has
maintained status, the J-2 should also submit proof that the J-1 has
In the case of a dependent changing status to J-2 concurrently
with his or her spouse applying for J-1 status, a dependent SEVIS
DS-2019 is created along with the principal's DS-2019, and the
dependent's information is included on Form I-539 Supplement.
To apply for change to J-2 status if the principal is already in
J-1 status, the spouse or dependent submits a completed Form I-539
and fee to the USCIS Service Center with jurisdiction over the place
of residence, including an original dependent SEVIS Form DS-2019,
the dependent or spouse's original Form I-94 card, photocopies of
the J-1's Form I-94 and DS-2019, and documentation of sufficient
funding for the J-2. USCIS action will be noted on the I-94 issued
as part of the I-797 Notice of Action.