J-2 Dependents

J-2 Dependents

J-1 exchange visitors may bring their spouse and/or unmarried, minor (under age 21) children to the United States in J-2 status. No other relatives are eligible for J-2 status. To be admitted to the United States in J-2 status, J-2 dependents are required to have a dependent Form DS-2019 and J-2 visa. 

Teachers College will issue separate Form DS-2019s to eligible J-2 dependents of a J-1 exchange visitor sponsored by TC's Exchange Visitor program. J-1 exchange visitors 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 through TC-Compass any time prior to or after your arrival at Teachers College.

Obtaining a Form DS-2019 for J-2 Dependents

In order to request J-2 sponsorship for your dependents, you will need to complete the J-2 Dependent Information form via TC-Compass and submit the following documents: 

  • Passport Identification Page: Copy of your dependent’s passport identity page. The passport must be valid for at least 6 months into the future.
  • Financial Documents: Evidence of readily available funds to support your dependent’s living expenses (a minimum of $1,100 per month per dependent). Financial documents must be issued within the last three months. If funding is coming from someone other than yourself, the individual must provide an affidavit of support

 J-1 exchange visitors seeking sponsorship in the "student" category to pursue a degree program at TC should refer to the OISS website. J-1 exchange visitors seeking sponsorship in the "research scholar" category should refer to the Visiting Scholars section

Obtaining J-2 Visas

To be admitted to the United States in J-2 status, J-2 dependents are required to have a valid J-2 visa (except for Canadian citizens). J-2 visas must be applied for at a U.S. consulate or embassy outside the United States. 

Each applicant must present the consular officer with a dependent Form DS-2019 and other documents that may be required to demonstrate eligibility for J-2 status, such as proof of relationship to the J-1 student and a copy of the J-1 exchange visitor's Form DS-2019. Since consulates and embassies differ in their procedures, you should go to their website for instructions about application fees, procedures, and time frames.

I-901 SEVIS Fee

J-2 dependents do not have to pay the I-901 SEVIS fee. The I-901 SEVIS fee should not be confused with the DS-160 fee which is the visa application processing fee. 

Medical Insurance Requirement

All persons in J-1 and J-2 status must carry medical insurance that meets specific requirements set out by the U.S. Department of State. Information on insurance requirements is available on the OISS website. If you willfully fail to carry adequate medical insurance for yourself and your dependents, your J-1 sponsor must terminate your program. 

Teachers College requires all international students (in-person and remote) to be enrolled in The Columbia Plan. International students will be automatically enrolled in health insurance upon registering for classes and your myTC e-bill will be automatically charged.

For further inquiries regarding the TC/CU health insurance requirement, please consult the Columbia Health

Benefits and Restrictions of J-2 Status

J-2 dependents are allowed to accompany the J-1 exchange visitor for the duration of their 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 exchange visitor may apply to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for employment authorization. The J-2 spouse may work for their 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 exchange visitor. More information can be found on the J-2 employment application procedures
  • 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 exchange visitor completes or otherwise ends their status 
  • If the J-1 exchange visitor is subject to the two-year home residency requirement (Section 212(e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act), all J-2 dependents are similarly subject
  • Upon completion of the J-1 exchange visitor program, J-1 students enter their 30 days grace period during which the J-1 and J-2 dependent(s) must prepare for departure from the U.S. Once the J-1 student departs the U.S., the J-2 dependent must also depart the U.S. 

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 exchange visitor. 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 for 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 OISS 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 (necessary 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 appropriate tax returns to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) 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 2023 for the calendar year January - December 2022.

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.

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