J-2 Visa: Derivative Visa of J-1

The J-2 visa is a non-immigrant visa for dependents (spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21) of J-1 visa holders. J-2 visa holders are dependent on the status of the J-1 Visa Holder. Any changes to the J-1 status will result in changes to the J-2 status.

J-1 Categories can be summarized as:

  1. Au Pair
  2. Camp Counselor
  3. Graduate Student (Doctoral, Masters, and Undergrad)
  4. Physician
  5. Professor
  6. Public School Teacher
  7. Research Scholar
  8. Secondary school students (Foreign Exchange Student)
  9. Summer work study and Intern (aka Hotel and Hospitality Intern)

How long can I stay on a J-2 Visa in the US?

Since the J-2 Visa is a dependent visa, its validity, duration and extension eligibility are directly tied to the J-1 visa status, generally the spouse or parent of the visa holder. However, not every J-1 Visa Category permits a J-2 Dependant.

Can I change my J2 Visa status to another Visa Status?

A J-2 may be able to Change Status to another visa. However, the defining factor is whether the J-1 visas has a two-year home residency requirement, which this condition normally applies to J-2 dependents, and should always be considered.

If the J-1 visa holder applies for a waiver of the home residency requirement and receives an approval, the waiver can apply to the J-2 visa holder as well.

If a J-2 visa holder does not have a home residency requirement because the J-1 visa holder does not have that restriction, the J-2 may change be able to status to another visa or apply for permanent residence.

Can I apply for Employment Authorization as a J-2?

J-2 visa holders are eligible to acquire an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) after arrival and allowed to seek employment in the U.S.

With a granted EAD, you may apply Social Security Number (SSN) to file your taxes as per U.S. laws.

I am a J-1 and I am interested in bringing my family (spouse or child under 21) to the US, can they apply at the U.S. Consulate?

Generally, yes, a professional J-1 can have the spouse and any child under 21 apply for a J-2 Visa at the US Consulate abroad. Heavy consideration must be given to whether J-1 2-Year Home Residency Requirements are involved, whether an F Visa or H Visa would be better, the estimated time to be in the US, the remainder on the J-1’s DS-2019, and many other factors to confirm a J-2 Visa is a good fit.

Since eligibility depends on many factors, please contact Fickey Martinez Law Firm to set up a Consultation with our Immigration Attorney.