A J-1's spouse and unmarried children under age 21 are eligible to be J-2 dependents. Parents, girlfriends, boyfriends, etc., are not eligible for J-2 dependent status.
In order to bring dependents, the J-1 must submit a copy of each dependent’s passport biographic page and show proof of funding to support any dependents. The minimum funding requirement is $4000/year for a spouse and $2000/year for each dependent child.
Requesting DS-2019s J-2 Dependents at time of J-1 Processing (recommended)
DS-2019s for J-2 dependents should be requested at the same time as the initial J-1 request is processed even if a dependent’s arrival date or length of stay is unknown. Requesting DS-2019s for J-2 dependents with the initial J-1 DS-2019 will allow the J-1 and dependents to receive the DS-2019s and apply for visas together.
The DS-2019 for a J-2 dependent will have the same start and end dates as the DS-2019 for the J-1 regardless of when the dependent’s DS-2019 is processed and regardless of whether the dependent accompanies the J-1 upon initial arrival or follows several months later.
Requesting DS-2019s J-2 Dependents after Arrival of J-1
DS-2019s for J-2 dependents may also be requested after the J-1 has arrived in the U.S. but because of the additional processing time and expense needed to process J-2 DS-2019s separately from the J-1 DS-2019, after July 1, 2015 a $100 processing fee will be required in order to obtain J-2 DS-2019s separately from ISS processing the J-1 DS-2019.
To request DS-2019s for J-2 dependents after the J-1 has arrived, the J-1 should send ISS copies of each J-2's passport biographic page and proof of payment of the $100 processing fee (ISS can only accept banner budget transfers which are discussed more on our J-1 processing fee page). If the J-1's current funding level is not sufficient to include dependents, the J-1 must also send ISS proof of additional funding. The processing time for J-2 DS-2019s varies from 1 - 2 weeks and ISS will notify the J-1 when the J-2 DS-2019s are ready to be picked up. The J-1 must pick up the J-2 DS-2019s and mail them to the dependents. Please note that the J-1 must bear the cost of mailing the J-2 DS-2019s (about $75-$100) to the dependents if the J-2 DS-2019s are requested separately from the J-1 DS-2019 (after the J-1 arrives).
Health Insurance for J-2 Dependents
All J-2 dependents must have health insurance during their entire period of stay in the U.S. that meets the U.S. Department of State health insurance minimum requirements for J status holders. More information about health insurance can be found on the Health Insurance page.
What can dependents do in the U.S.?
J-2 dependents may work (after obtaining a work permit) and enroll in classes without having to obtain a different visa status. J-2 dependents may also apply for a driver's license or social security card (only if they get a work permit).