J-2 Dependents

Spouse and/or minor unmarried children (under 21 years of age) who wish to accompany the J-1 Exchange visitor for the duration of their exchange program are eligible for J-2 dependent status.

J-2 Dependent Status versus B-2 Visitor Status

The purpose of J-2 status is to allow the spouse and/or minor unmarried children of a J-1 Exchange Visitor to remain in the United States for the duration of the J-1 Exchange Visitor program. Any J-2 dependent who does not intend on staying in United States on an ongoing basis or plans to only visit for vacation or short stays should apply for the B-2 visitor visa, or travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program. For information regarding the B-2 visitor visa and the Visa Waiver Program, please refer to the U.S. Department of State website http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/visit/visitor.html. Spouses and/or children who intend on remaining in the United States for the duration of the J-1 Exchange Visitor program should request J-2 status.

Bars & Bans

Prospective dependents may be subject to the 12-month and 24-month bars, if they previously held J-1 status.

12 month bar:

A prospective J-2 dependent will not be eligible for J-2 status of a current J-1 Professor or Research Scholar if they were physically present in the U.S. for any part of the preceding 12 month period in any J-1status.

24 month bar:

A prospective J-2 dependent will not be eligible for J-2 status of a current J-1 Professor or Research Scholar, if they were previously present in the U.S as a J-1 Research Scholar or Professor and did not fulfill the 24 month bar. 

Requesting a J-2 DS-2019

If the J-2 will be arriving with the J-1 scholar at the start of exchange visitor program, the UB hosting department must indicate the dependent information on the initial DS-2019 request form (DS-2019 J-2 request form).

 If the J-2 dependent will arrive after the J-1 Exchange Visitor program start date, please submit the following documents to UBIS:

  •  DS-2019 J-2 Request form (DS-2019 J-2 request form)
  • Copy of passport biographic page for each dependent
  • Copy of marriage certificate and English translation (Spouse only)
  • Copy of Birth certificate and English translation (Dependent children only)
  • Medical Insurance attestation (Medical Attestation Form
  • Copy of bank statement for proof of funds 
            The necessary funds per month are (subject to change )
  • $1,129.00 Spouse and child (add $375.00 for each additional child per month) 
  • $630.00 Spouse only.
All required documents must be hand delivered or sent by campus mail to our office, 110 Cooke Hall, North Campus. We do not accept e-mail submission of documents.


Maintaining J-2 Legal Status

J-2 Check-in :

J-1 Scholars are responsible for checking in their J-2 dependents with UB Immigration Services the first week that they arrive in the United States. The J-1 Scholar must bring the following documents to UBIS.

  • DS-2019
  • Passport
  • Dependent Medical Insurance enrollment form completely filled out
Mandatory Insurance requirement:
Exchange visitors must have health insurance plus medical evacuation/repatriation insurance as required by the U.S. Department of State for their entire program. J-2s are also required to have health insurance for the entire duration of the program. If a J-2 will be out of the U.S. for any period of time, the J-1 is still responsible for maintaining the health insurance for the J-2 while they are out of the U.S. Failure to maintain health insurance can result in the termination of the program for both the J-1 and J-2. If you the J-1 does not purchase health insurance for the J-2 for the entire duration, but do so on a fixed period of time, the J-1 is required to submit proof once the health coverage for the J-2 has been extended. 

J-2 Employment Eligibility

An individual in J-2 status may apply to the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) (Vermont Service Center) for permission to accept employment. Permission will be granted only if the employment is intended to support the J-2 spouse and child/children, and not the J-1 scholar. The processing time for work authorization at the Vermont Service Center is approximately 4-12 weeks. A J-2 cannot begin working until s/he has received the Employment Authorization Document (EAD card) from the USCIS. For further information, please refer to the USCIS website at: http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/i-765instr.pdf.


Traveling outside of the US

J-2 dependents are subject to the same re-entry requirements as the J-1 Scholars. J-2 dependents must have a valid DS-2019 that has been signed for travel, valid passport and valid J-2 visa for re-entry. Please review our travel guidelines.

J-2 dependents cannot remain in the U.S. if the J-1 Scholar is absent from the U.S. for a significant period of time.


Cancellation of J-2 dependents

If J-2 dependents decide not to come to the U.S, will return to their home country and will not return to the U.S. for the duration of the J-1 program, or if the J-1 and J-2 will be divorced, UBIS must be notified  in order to cancel the SEVIS record of the J-2. It is the responsibility of the J-1 Scholar to keep UBIS informed of any of these changes as we are required to cancel the SEVIS record of the J-2. 


Departure of J-2 dependents

J-2 status ends when the J-1 Scholar status ends. J-2 must depart prior to or on the same flight as the J-1 Scholar.


The information contained on this web page is provided as a service to the international faculty, researchers, staff, employees and administrators of University at Buffalo, and does not constitute legal advice on any immigration, tax, or other matter. We try to provide useful information, but we make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to this web site or any associated site. As legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case, and laws are constantly changing, nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of competent counsel. Neither the University at Buffalo nor the Office of UB Immigration Services is responsible for any errors or omissions contained on this web page, or for the results obtained from the use of this information.


Email: immsvcga@buffalo.edu        Tel. Number: (716) 645-2355