J-2 Dependents

What is a J-2 Dependent

J-2 dependents are defined as a spouse or an unmarried child under 21 years of age of a J-1 student. J-2 dependents remain in status as long as the student remains in valid J-1 status, and only until age 21 (if a dependent child).  



J-2 dependents can study without any limitations (ex. part-time, full-time, degree seeking, non-degree seeking).


J-2 dependents may apply to USCIS for permission to work, as long as such employment is not used to support the J-1 student.  Application processing can take 2-3 months.  Dependents may not begin employment until the start date printed on the Employment Authorization Document.  

J-2 Work Authorization Instructions (pdf)


  • May enter the U.S. with or after the J-1 non-immigrant, but never before;
  • Must have a program sponsor’s travel signature on their DS-2019 when traveling outside of and re-entering the U.S.;
  • May not remain in the U.S. if the J-1 student is absent from the U.S. unless the absence is temporary (usually 30 days or less).

Insurance Requirements

J-1 visitors are required to carry health insurance for themselves and their J-2 dependents meeting specific requirements set forth by federal regulations, for the entire duration of their J-1 program.

Email Requirements

If you have a spouse or child(ren) that accompany you as J-2 dependent(s) in the U.S., federal regulations require that you provide an email address contact for each of your dependents (including children, if any).

To submit an email address for your dependent(s), login to iHawk and select "J-1 Student Services" --> "J-2 Dependent E-mail Update".

Inviting a J-2 Dependent

J-2 dependents may accompany a J-1 student when he/she enters the U.S., or join the student later.  J-1 students will need to request issuance of a J-2 DS-2019 for each family member joining them. 

The process below ONLY applies to J-1 students whose DS-2019 is issued by KU (check item 2 “Program Sponsor” on your DS-2019).  If your DS-2019 is not issued by KU, contact your program sponsor.

Request a Dependent J-2 DS-2019

Step 1

Log into iHawk and select “J-1 Student Services” --> "DS-2019 Requests". Click on “Start a New Request” then select “DS-2019 Add Dependent(s)”.  

What you will need:

  • Dependent’s passport ID page(s)
  • Verification of financial ability (Federal regulations require that you have enough funds to support yourself and any dependents that accompany you for the duration of your program):
  • KU Funding: If you have a GA/GRA/GTA, lecturer position, fellowship, or departmental scholarship, you must provide the name and email address of the departmental staff person who can verify the salary and benefit information.
  • Other funding (ex. personal, family, home government): Upload current evidence of financial support that shows the additional dependent expense amount needed for the remainder of your program. Make sure to calculate the total amount based on the number of dependents and the number of years remaining on your DS-2019.

Step 2

  • Monitor the status of your request in iHawk. When the e-form shows "Pending Review" status, your request is ready for review by an ISS advisor. 
  • Schedule an APPOINTMENT with an ISS immigration advisor to review and process your request.  Learn how to schedule an appointment on our website.  If your request is sufficient upon review, the ISS advisor will prepare the necessary SEVIS dependent DS-2019(s).

The student's dependent(s) will then use the DS-2019 to apply for a J-2 dependent visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in his/her home country, or to apply for a change of status to J-2 within the U.S.