A J-2 dependent is defined as either a spouse or an unmarried child under 21 years of age of the J-1 exchange visitor. J-2 dependents may either enter the U.S. simultaneously with the J-1 exchange visitor or separately afterwards, but never prior to the initial arrival of the J-1 visitor.
Requesting a J-2 Visa Eligibility Document
To request a J-2 certificate of eligibility (DS-2019) for your spouse or child you must attend the Center's "Dependent Workshop". This workshop is offered once per month; the schedule is listed on our website Calendar. At any time after you have attended the workshop, you may submit your request for a dependent DS-2019, which must include:
- Information about your dependent(s): name, date and place of birth, country of citizenship
- Proof of adequate funding for your dependent(s)
- Proof of insurance coverage for your dependent(s) - Note: if you do not have insurance for your dependents through your employment, you may choose to purchase insurance either from the Center or from an independent agency. Information on both is available at the Center.
- Payment of a one-time Rutgers SEVIS Administration Fee (SAF) of $50 for a spouse and $25 for each child. J-2 dependents do not have to pay the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's SEVIS Fee, however.
Please keep in mind that applicants for a J-2 visa should not present themselves at a U.S. consulate with a DS-2019 that has been issued more than 3 months earlier. Please plan your request for a dependent DS-2019 accordingly.
Once you have the dependent DS-2019 and have sent it to your dependent, your dependent will then need to apply at a U.S. consulate for a J-2 visa to enter the U.S. or, if your dependent is in the U.S. already in another status, he or she will have to apply for a change of status to J-2.
Maintaining J-2 Status
- J-2s are required by federal law to "check-in" at the Center shortly after their arrival to the U.S.;
- J-2 dependents are required to have health insurance coverage at all times; the coverage must meet certain minimum requirements.
- J-2s are eligible to work (with USCIS authorization) and study.
- J-2s must file a federal tax return each year if they work or IRS Form 8843 if they don't;
- J-2 dependents must notify the Center when they permanently end Rutgers' visa sponsorship (e.g., permanently leaving the U.S., changing visa status) by submitting the
F-2/J-2 Dependent Request to Close SEVIS Record and End Rutgers' Visa Sponsorship form;
- J-2s may not remain in the U.S. after the departure of the J-1 visitor unless the J-1's absence is of a brief and temporary nature.
J-2s may apply to the USCIS for employment authorization as long as the purpose of the employment is deemed to be for their personal fulfillment and not for the purpose of supporting the J-1 visitor during his/her program. J-2s may not engage in employment until they are granted authorization to work from USCIS. More information is available on our Procedure for J-2 Employment Authorization Applications . If after consulting the handout the J-1 or J-2 visa holders have any questions, they should meet with their assigned international student or scholar adviser.
Resources for Dependents
Many spouses who come to the U.S. face adjustment difficulties, and can experience frustration and difficulty communicating with others on a daily basis. While J-1 visa holders are busy at the University, some spouses may feel lonely and isolated. We suggest you familiarize yourself with the following special resources to assist international families in their transition to life in the U.S. These programs offer excellent opportunities for dependents to practice English, learn about day-to-day living in the U.S., become involved in community activities, socialize with other spouses, and learn from others' experiences. We hope that your dependents will participate!
Also, there are numerous volunteer opportunities for those who speak English. Check your local paper or contact your local "United Way" agency for details.