J-2 Dependent Status


  • J-2 dependents can travel freely in and out of the United States while the J-1 scholar remains active in their Georgetown program. They should show a valid J-2 visa stamp and a Form DS-2019 signed for travel within the last year for reentry.
  • J-2 dependents must accompany the J-1 scholar if the scholar leaves the United States for more than 30 days with the exception of the summer vacation for teaching faculty. If a J-2 dependent returns home and before the J-1 scholar and will not return to the United States, the J-1 scholar should inform OGS.

Work Authorization

J-2 dependents are eligible to apply for work authorization if the following requirements are met:

  • The J-1 Exchange Visitor maintains their status in the United States.
  • The money earned by the J-2 dependent must not be used to support the J-1 Exchange Visitor.

This employment authorization allows the J-2 dependent to work for any employer for any number of hours as long as the employment authorization document (EAD) is valid and as long as J-2 status is maintained.

The J-2 dependent should write a cover letter to accompany the application for employment authorization. This letter should explain why work permission is being sought [examples: earn money for school or travel, further own professional career, etc.] and outline the family’s financial resources to clearly demonstrate that all expenses for the J-1 are met without the help of the J-2. This cover letter should also list all items included in the petition. For help, please see the J-2 Work Authorization Sample Letter and Financial Statement (PDF).

Application Contents:

  • Cover letter from the J-2 dependent requesting work permission
  • Financial statement showing funds for the entire family’s expenses
  • Form I-765 [Reason for eligibility: (c)(5)]. Carefully read the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) instructions on how to fill out the I-765 before completing the form.
  • Photocopy of J-2 Form DS-2019 and J-1 Form DS-2019
  • Photocopy of the J-1 Exchange Visitor’s I-94 Record 
  • Photocopy of the J-2 dependent’s I-94 Record
  • Copy of marriage certificate for spouses with different last names
  • Two U.S. immigration-style photographs taken within the last 30 days
  • Check or money order payable to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security”

It is recommended that you request a Social Security Number (SSN) be issued via the I-765 if you don’t yet have one.

Please keep a photocopy of the entire application package, including your check, for your records.

See USCIS filing information for the mailing address. It is recommended that you send the application overnight or courier delivery, so you can receive delivery confirmation.

Upon approval, USCIS will send the EAD to the address indicated on the Form I-765. Processing takes an average of 3-5 months. The EAD will be issued for up to a year or until the end date of the J-1s Form DS-2019.

Please note if a work authorization extension is being requested, the new EAD must be received prior to the expiration of the current EAD in order to continue working uninterrupted. Therefore, it is extremely important to file the renewal application 3-5 months in advance of the expiration.

Study in the United States

J-2 dependents may engage in full-time or part-time study. Please visit the OGS English, Childcare, and K-12 Educational Resources page for more information.

Dependents Arriving in the United States After the J-1 Exchange Visitor

If a J-2 dependent will arrive in the United States later than the J-1 Exchange Visitor’s arrival, and they have not already been issued a Form DS-2019, the J-1 Exchange Visitor may request the J-2 dependent’s Form DS-2019 using: