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The J-1 Exchange Visitor’s spouse and dependent children under the age of 21 are eligible for J-2 status and may use this status to accompany the J-1 individual to the U.S. To be eligible for J-2, a child must not be over 21. No other family members are eligible for J-2 status.
Applying for J-2 Status
Each person in J-2 status must have his or her own DS-2019. If the spouse and/or dependent child will accompany the J-1 scholar at a later time, this information must be conveyed by the host department at the time of requesting the initial DS-2019 form. If the spouse and/or dependent child will join the scholar in the U.S,, the scholar will request the DS-2019 from the VISA office. With the DS-2019, the J-2 dependent may apply for a J-2 visa at the U.S. Consulate.
Financial Support Minimums
Scholar: $20,000/year ($1700/month)
Spouse: $7,000/year ($584/month)
Each Child: $4,000/year ($333/month)
J-1/J-2 Health Insurance Requirements
All J-1 Exchange Visitors and their J-2 dependents are required by federal regulations to have medical insurance for the entire period of their stay in the U.S. You may select the medical insurance that is best for you and any family; however, here is the minimum coverage that must be met:
- $50,000 per accident or illness
- Medical evacuation in the amount of $10,000
- Repatriation coverage for up to $7500
- A deductible of no more than $500 per illness
Any insurance policy that fulfills these requirements must be underwritten by an insurance corporation having an A.M. Best rating of “A” or above, an Insurance Solvency International, Ltd. (ISI) rating of “A-i” or above, a Standard and Poor’s Claims-paying Ability rating of “A” or above, a Weiss Research, Inc. rating of “B+” or above, or such other rating service that the Exchange Visitor Program may specify. Insurance coverage backed by the full faith and credit of the government of the Exchange Visitor’s home country meets the requirements. Health benefits programs offered on a group basis to employees or enrolled students by a designated sponsor or underwritten by a federally qualified health maintenance organization (HMO) or an eligible competitive medical plan as determined by the Health Care Financing Administration shall also qualify. The medical and hospitalization coverage provided by the CSMC Health Plan meets and exceeds these requirements. Be sure to enroll for the medical evacuation and repatriation of remains coverage as well.
If you willfully fail to maintain the insurance coverage as set forth or make a material misrepresentation to your J-1 sponsor regarding the coverage, you will be considered to be in violation of the Exchange Visitor Program regulations and will be subject to termination as an Exchange Visitor participant. It is your responsibility, not CSMC, to obtain and maintain insurance coverage.
Working in the U.S. for J-2 Dependents
J-2 visa holders (the spouses and dependent children of J-1's) may apply to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for permission to work in the United States. Title 8, Code of Federal Regulations, part 214.2(j)(1(v) states that, "income from the spouse's or dependent's employment may be used to support the family's customary recreational and cultural activities and related travel, among other things. Employment will not be authorized if this income is needed to support the J-1 principal alien.”
The J-2 Employment Request provides detailed instructions on how to apply for J-2 employment authorization.
Your EAD application and all of the required documentation must be sent to the USCIS Service Center Lockbox facility:
1820 E. Skyharbor Circle S. Suite 100
Phoenix, AZ 85034
Make sure to send your application via USPS certified mail with a return receipt or by courier (FedEx, DHL, UPS) with a tracking number.
Optional: If you would like to get an email notification that your application has been received at the Lockbox facility, complete the form G-1145 and submit with the rest of your application materials.
Make sure your keep a copy of all the documents you submit. After mailing in the documents, you will receive a notice (Form I-797) stating you need to wait for about 80 days to receive your EAD. This is your receipt, so take care not to lose it. Remember, you cannot begin your employment until you have received the Employment Authorization Document (EAD card) from USCIS. If you are applying for a renewal of your J-2 work permission you cannot work beyond the previously authorized date until you receive a new EAD.
Anyone who earns money in the United States must have a social security number for taxpayer identification purposes. VISA can provide you with instructions on Social Security Card Information Sheet . J-2 visa holders are subject to social security taxes, federal income taxes and, where applicable, state and local income taxes.