If you have family members (a spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old) who will live with you during your J program, they might come as J-2 dependents. J-2 visa holders do not pay the SEVIS fee as their status is dependent on the J-1. All J-2 dependents are required to maintain health insurance throughout the dates of the J program and the scholar must upload proof of insurance in iStart.
NOTE: If family members plan to visit for a short time or make several short visits, they should instead use the visitor visa program (B1/B2), rather than come on J-2 visas.
If you are a new scholar applying to come to USF, you can request dependent DS-2019s as part of the application process in iStart.
If you are currently a scholar at USF and want to bring a dependent, you can request a DS-2019 for them in iStart from the Add Dependents E-Form.
To create a DS-2019 for a J-2 dependent, you will need to submit the following in iStart:
- Copy of the dependent’s biographical page of the passport
- Proof of sufficient funding for each dependent -- $5000 per year on top of the current minimum required for the scholar
- Copy of the marriage certificate if spouse
Maintaining J-2 Status
J-2 dependents status in the US is dependent on the J scholar’s maintenance of status. J-2 dependents may study while in the US. J-1 scholars may not exit the United States and leave dependents alone in the country for extended periods of time. J-2 dependents must exit the US along with the J-1 upon the completion of their program.
J-2 visa holders may apply for work permission from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Permission is granted in the form of an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) with authorized dates of employment. Applications take up to four months for approval. You can make an appointment with International Services for information about employment authorization.
J-2 Travel Abroad and Reentry
A valid DS-2019 travel signature is required for international travel.