J-2 Dependents

Many J-1 exchange visitors come to the United States with their families. The J-2 visa is for a dependent spouse or an unmarried child who is under the age of 21. J-2 status enables dependents to stay in the United States during the J-1 visitor’s program.

J-1 visitors submit information about J-2 dependents during the J-1 application process.

OIA Is Here to Help.

Sometimes a different visa status is more appropriate than the J-2. For example, a dependent may be eligible for other visas if the visit will be brief. A dependent child over the age of 21 is not eligible for J-2 status. The J-1 visitor can consult with us about the best option for his or her dependents.

Funding Documentation

J-1 visitors must prove that they have monthly financial support of at least $1,310. The first J-2 dependent must have at least $666 per month in support, and each additional dependent must have at least $562 per month. The J-2 dependent must have financial support for the length of the J-1’s program.

A family of four, for example, would need to show proof of $1,310 per month in support for the J-1 scholar,  $666 per month for the spouse, and $562 per month for each child. The total is $3100 per month, and it must be available for the entire program.

Travel Outside the United States

J-2 dependents follow the same travel procedures as J-1 visitors.

See the J-1 travel procedures »

Remaining Here While a J-1 Travels

A J-1 visitor must maintain his or her status in order for J-2 dependents to stay in the United States. If the J-1 is out of the country for a significant period of time, this might affect the J-2’s ability to remain in the United States. If you cannot find the information you are looking for, or need to clarify information for your situation, you can contact us by emailing .

Enrollment in IUPUI Courses

J-2 dependents can enroll in IUPUI courses as part-time or full-time students. They will have many choices of courses and fields. IUPUI offers more than 225 academic programs, ranging from accounting to Youth Physical Wellness Programming.

Work authorization for J-2 Dependents

J-2 work authorization can only be approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). If you have J-2 immigration status, you can apply directly to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for work authorization.

  • Requirements

    You should be able to show that your J-1 spouse (or parent) has enough money to cover his/her living expenses.

  • Apply for Work Authorization

    1. Obtain a J-2 Work Permission Packet from the Office of International Affairs.

    2. Complete form I-765, and write a letter to the USCIS following the format of the letter below, and obtain two photos as instructed in the packet.

    3. Mail the following, in the order listed, to the USCIS, PO Box 21281, Phoenix, AZ 85036:

      1. I-765 [For question #16, the answer is "(c)(5)"]

      2. $410 USD check or money order payable to DHS.

      3. (2) two passport style photos in small envelope (write name and I-94 number on reverse of photos in pencil)

      4. copy of any previous EAD card (front & back)

      5. letter to USCIS

      6. copy of J-1's DS-2019

      7. copy of J-2's DS-2019

      8. copy of applicant's I-94 card (front & back)

      9. copy of passport identification page(s)

      10. Proof of family relationship to J-1 (this information may be indicated by the J-1's name on your J-2 visa stamp in your passport or you may provide a copy — in English — of your marriage certificate).

    4. You may drop off your materials if you would like them reviewed by an Advisor in the Office of International Affairs before sending.

    You will receive a Receipt Notice within 1-2 weeks, and your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) should be processed no later than 90 days from the date of the receipt. If you have not received your EAD from the USCIS within 90 days after the date of your receipt notice, contact the Office of International Affairs for assistance.

  • Sample Letter


    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service

    P.O. Box 21281

    Phoenix, AZ 85036

    Dear Sir or Madam:

    I am a J-2 visa holder from [country], and I would like to apply for work permission. My [husband/wife], -- [spouse's name]--, is a visiting [research scholar/student] at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

    As indicated on my [husband/wife's] DS-2019, our income for supporting ourselves is $[state a dollar amount, i.e., 1650.00] per month, which demonstrates that it is not necessary for me to work to support [him/her].

    If I am granted work authorization, the income I receive from my work will NOT be used to cover my [husband/wife's] living expenses.

    Thank you for considering my application.




You cannot work until you receive the EAD card. If you are applying for an extension and your EAD expires, you must stop working until you receive the new EAD.