A J-2 visa is available for the spouse and minor children of a J-1 exchange visitor. A J-2 visa ensures that family members of the J-1 visitor will be able to accompany or come after the J-1 visa holder and stay in the United States together for the duration of the exchange visit.
Call Tucker, Nong and Associates for help with obtaining a J-1 student visa and the accompanying J-2 visa. Our experienced J-2 visa lawyers can ensure your filing process goes quickly and that you are not negatively affected by careless mistakes.
Who is Eligible for a J-2 Visa?
This visa is limited to only the minor children (under 21) and/or the spouse of the J-1 visa holder. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, parents, siblings, and other extended family member are not eligible.
In some cases J-2 visas are not an option to accompany J-1 visas. Some categories which allow J-2 visas have specific programs which do not, and some categories do not permit any at all. These categories are:
- camp counselor
- summer work travel
- au pair
- secondary school student
Visiting Permission with a J-2 Visa
If the dependents of the J-1 visitor do not wish to remain in the U.S. and only wish to visit on vacations, they may consider applying for B-2 visas, or traveling under the Visa Waiver Program if they qualify to do so.
The male or female cohabiting partner of the J-1 applicant, so long as he or she does not intend to work in the United States, can apply for a different visa if their primary purpose in coming to the States is to accompany their J-1 partner. For help in determining what type of visa to pursue, interested couples should always talk to an immigration lawyer.
Procedure of Application
The procedure for J-2 applicants is very similar to that of the primary J-1 applicant, and the sponsor must approve each applicant. Each J-2 applicant will receive a separate Form DS-2019 which will have a unique SEVIS ID number, and all must be signed by the primary J-1 applicant. Once the visas have been approved, the J-2 visa holders must enter the United States at the same time or after the J-1 visa holder; they are not allowed to enter before the primary holder.
It is important to remember that these steps can be extremely involved and complicated. Careless errors made during this process can delay filing time. Therefore, it is always best to work with a licensed J-2 visa lawyer.
In most cases, the holder of the J-2 visa is allowed to apply for work authorization after they have entered the United States. Applying before entering is not allowed. The process of applying for a work permit begins with the J-2 visa holder filing Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.
After this filing, an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) will be issued which will authorized the J-2 visa holder to work for up to one year. As long as the J-2 status is active, applications for EAD extensions can be made every year. The application process for the EAD can vary. Due to the complexity of these documents, it is strongly recommended that individuals consult with a qualified J-2 visa lawyer.
Traveling With a J-2 Visa
The only restriction on travel is that the J-2 visa holder must enter the United States after or with the J-1 visa holder. After that, the J-2 visa holder is free to travel as desired with or without the accompaniment of the J-1 visitor.
Pursuing Education with a J-2 Visa
Those who are residing in the United States on a J-2 visa are free to study, whether for their own pleasure or to earn a degree, without applying for or changing their visa to a F-1 Student Visa. They may enroll in any academic program, whether it be part-time or full-time, and can discontinue their studies at any time.
Adjustment of Status on a J-2 Visa
If the academic program exceeds the duration of the exchange program, the J-2 visa holder may, at the end of the J-1 visa holder’s stay, change their status to that of F-1 student and stay to complete the application program, provided that they are not subject to the Two-Year Home Residency Requirement, which requires certain exchange visitors to return to and remain in their home country for a full two years after the exchange program ends.
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