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Office of International Services
Teachers College, Columbia University
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Office of International Services

J-1 Student Status > J-2 Dependents

J-2 Dependents

The spouse and unmarried, minor children (under age of 21) who accompany or follow the J-1 visitor are eligible for J-2 status. No other relatives are eligible for J-2 status.

Teachers College will issue separate Form DS-2019s to eligible J-2 dependents of a J-1 student sponsored by TC's Exchange Visitor program. Students sponsored by other EVPs must contact their sponsors to get information about obtaining J-2 sponsorship for their dependents.  You may make a request for DS-2019s for your J-2 dependents any time prior to or after your arrival at Teachers College.

Eligibility for J-2 Status

In order to approve a request for J-2 sponsorship for your dependents, the OIS must receive evidence that you have adequate financial resources to support the living expenses for your dependent(s). Information about financial requirements are on our Application for Visa Certificate (AVC).  Please complete the Dependents section of the AVC and submit it along with the required financial documentation to the OIS. The OIS will process a Form DS-2019 for your dependent(s) as appropriate.

Medical Insurance Requirement

All persons in J-1 and J-2 status must carry medical insurance that meets specific requirements set out by the Department of State. Information on these requirements, and on insurance plans which meet them, is available from the Office of International Services. If you willfully fail to carry adequate medical insurance for yourself and your dependents, your J-1 sponsor must terminate your program. Each year, you should complete a compliance form at the Ofifce of International Services.

Benefits and Restrictions of J-2 Status

J-2 dependents are allowed to accompany the J-1 student for the duration of his/her lawful stay in the United States. J-2 dependents enjoy certain benefits and are subject to certain restrictions.

  • The J-2 spouse of a J-1 student may apply to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service for employment authorization. The J-2 spouse may work for his/her own personal financial or personal benefit, or to support the expenses of dependent children; however, the J-2 may not seek employment for the purpose of supporting the J-1 student. For more information about employment application procedures, go to the 'Employment and Taxes' section of this web site.
  • A J-2 dependent spouse may study either full- or part-time without restriction.
  • J-2 dependent children may enroll in elementary or secondary education as appropriate.
  • J-2 children lose J-2 status upon turning 21.
  • J-2 dependents lose J-2 status if the J-1 student completes or otherwise ends his/her status.
  • If the J-1 student is subject to the two-year home residency requirement (Section 212e of the Immigration and Nationality Act), all J-2 dependents are similarly subject.

Travel in J-2 Status

J-2 dependents may travel outside of and re-enter the United States together with or separately from the J-1 student. In all cases, J-2 dependents should carry the following documents in order to request J-2 status upon arriving in the United States:

  • A unexpired passport valid at least six months into the future upon arrival
  • A Form DS-2019 issued in the J-2 dependent's name, with a travel signature from the OIS or the J-1 sponsor that is no more than 1 year old on the date of re-entry
  • A copy of the J-1's signed Form DS-2019 (necessarily only if traveling separately from the J-1)
  • An unexpired J-2 entry visa (exception: Canadian citizens are not required to obtain visas)

Tax Filing Obligations

J-2 dependents are required to file Internal Revenue Service Form 8843 every April, to reflect the time they spent in the United States in J-2 status for the previous calendar year.  For example, Form 8843 should be filed in April 2007 for the calendar year January - December 2006.

Additionally, J-2 dependent spouses who have earned U.S.-source income pursuant to valid employment authorization are required to file federal and income state income taxes as appropriate.



Office of International Services
Teachers College, Columbia University
Box 7, 525 W 120th Street
New York, New York 10027-6696
Phone: (212) 678-3939 ♦ ~ Fax: (212) 678-3990 ♦ Email: