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Dependents: J-2


Immigration regulations allow the following individuals to apply for a J-2 visa to accompany a J-1 visa holder to the U.S.

  • Spouse*
  • Unmarried children under the age of 21

*Same-sex spouses can qualify for a J-2 visa if the marriage is “recognized in the place of celebration”. (Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs)

Other family members are not eligible for J-2 dependent status. However, they may be eligible to apply for a B-2 visa to allow them to accompany the J-1 visa holder. For more information on the B-2 visa, please contact a US embassy/consulate.

Inviting a Dependent

A J-1 student or scholar already in the U.S. can invite an eligible dependent to join them on a J-2 visa. 

Students can log into iCats and select J-1 Student Services from the left-side menu. You'll see a list of eforms, including one called Add a New Dependent. You will submit a new form for each dependent you wish to add. Please note that you will be asked to upload financial documentation to demonstrate that you can cover your dependent's living expenses in addition to your own program expenses for the duration of the program. You will also be asked to upload a copy of their passport.

Scholars interested in bringing a dependent can email for additional instructions.


There are no restrictions for individuals in J-2 status who wish to pursue a course of study in the U.S.


J-2 visa holders may apply to the U.S. government for permission to work in the country. Once that authorization is received, the dependent may use it for any type of employment. The authorization will need to be proactively renewed to avoid gaps in employment authorization. Application information can be found here.

Volunteer work at local not-for-profits can be performed without needing work authorization.


A J-2 visa holder may travel with or without the J-1. The dependent will need to obtain a travel signature from ISSS, and will need to have a valid J-2 visa stamp in order to return to the US. Federal regulations warn that it is not appropriate for a J-2 dependent to remain in the U.S. if the J-1 student or scholar leaves the U.S. for an extended period. Please contact ISSS for guidance if you have questions.

Health Insurance

Federal J visa regulations require that all J-1 and J-2 visa holders must maintain health insurance for the duration of their program in the U.S. The regulations also set minimum coverage requirements that must be met. Please see the Health Insurance page for details.

Two Year Home Residency Requirement

J-2 visa holders will be subject to the Two Year Home Residency Requirement if their J-1 spouse/parent is subject.