What is a J2 Visa?
The J-2 Visa is a nonimmigrant visa issued to the immediate relatives of a J1 exchange visitor.
It is important to note that only your spouse and your children are legally recognized as “immediate relatives”. Extended family members, such as parents or sibling, do not qualify for a dependent visa.
Once in the U.S., applicants may be allowed to seek employment after applying for a J2 Visa work permit.
Whether you desire to join your family or to change your status, we are here to help. To speak with one of our advisors, you can call us or make an inquiry online.
How to apply for a J2 Visa?
Eligibility for a J2 Dependent Visa depends on the requirements and the benefits of every specific J1 program. For example, exchange categories such as au pair or camp counselor do not permit the release of J2 Visas.
If you are eligible, your employer must agree to sponsor your family’s petition. Therefore, the details of each member must be included in the main application.
Your sponsor will need to file a Form DS-2019 for each dependent who is going to accompany the J-1 Visa holder.
The J2 Visa processing time will then be the same as the J1 permit.
Once your visa is approved, you can either accompany or join later the principal J-1 holder in the U.S.
Who is eligible for a Dependents Visa?
The J2 Dependents Visa is available for the following immediate family members of a J1 permit holder:
- Spouse or same-sex partner;
- Unmarried children under the age of 21 and who are not living an independent life.
Fiancé(e)s and unmarried partners are not eligible for this visa since the USCIS will ask for a genuine proof of marriage.
Besides, certain categories of J1 Visa holders are not allowed to apply for a permit for their family. This includes au pair, camp counselor, secondary school students and summer work travel programs participants.
If you do not qualify for this visa, you may still be able to join your family in the U.S. temporarily under a B2 Visitor Visa.
How to get a work permit for a J2 Visa holder?
If you hold a J-2 Visa, you may be allowed to work. You need first to submit a Form 1-765 to the USCIS.
If approved, you will be granted an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). You will then be able to seek employment for up to 1 year. If you want to preserve your status, you need to apply for further authorization every year, until the end of your visa.
A J2 Visa work permit usually takes between three to five months to be released. You can get a Social Security Number (SSN) when your EAD is approved. In some cases, you may receive an EAD card valid until the end of your J2 Visa. Once you find a job, you cannot use that money to support the principal J-1 Visa holder. Besides, you will be subject to all U.S. taxes, such as social security and federal obligations.
If the J-1 visa holder loses or changes his status, your J2 Visa work permit will become invalid.
Can you study on a J2 Visa?
As a general rule, foreign nationals who wish to study in the U.S. need to apply for an F1 Visa.
However, J2 Visa holder may be allowed to enroll in academic programs either as recreational or degree-seeking students.
If eligible, you can enrol in any academic program either on a full- or part-time basis and discontinue your studies at any time.
If you have not completed your studies by the time your status ends, you may submit a petition for a change to an F-1 student visa.
However, you must first ensure that your current immigration status is not subject to the two-year home residence requirement.
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You are allowed to reside in the country as long as the principal J1 Visa holder benefits from his or her status.
During your authorized stay, you can freely travel outside the U.S. without losing your nonimmigrant status. However, you are not allowed to enter the U.S. for the first time before the J1 applicant does.
Since they are nonimmigrant permits, the J1/J2 Visas are not commonly contemplated as a path to the Green Card. However, you may have the basis to meet other visas’ requirements, and thus to change your status.
As a no-dual intent permit, the idea behind the J1 status is that you must be ready to go back home at the end of your program. Typically, visa holders are also required to reside outside the U.S. for at least two years before they can apply for a new permit.
For this reason, you must prove that your request for permanent residence is due to unexpected changes in your circumstances.
The first step to take when seeking permanent residence is to change your status. Your lawyers can help you evaluate your options from one of the following choices:
- An employment-based permit, if you find a U.S.-based sponsor;
- A family-based status, as the foreign spouse or the fiancé of a U.S. citizen;
- As an extraordinary ability-based applicant, under an EB-1 Visa for professionals;
If you want to adjust your permit while in the U.S., the principal permit holder can apply for a J1 Visa Waiver. As a dependent, your status will also be altered.
Once you have obtained your waiver, you can submit your new petition together with a proof of your J2 Visa Waiver. Based on your circumstances, the processing time for this transition may vary. You will also be asked to return to your home country for an interview with your local U.S. consulate.
J2 Visa holder can freely travel outside the U.S. without being accompanied by their family. However, they are not allowed to enter the country in advance of the J1 Visa holder for the first time.
It is essential to carry all your documents and any proof of your current immigration status any time you travel abroad if you intend to re-enter the U.S.
Consulting an immigration attorney can make your J2 Visa petition easier and give you higher chances to get your permission.
If you wish to transition to different immigration status, it is essential to choose the best path to follow. You must accurately complete your application forms, as often this will be your only opportunity to seek residence in the U.S.
Our legal guidance includes:
- Check if your details have been included in the main J1 Visa petition;
- Confirming your eligibility for the J2 Visa;
- Determine the right immigrant visa for you if you wish to adjust your status.
You can arrange your first meeting with your immigration lawyers calling us or +1844 290 6312 or using our online contact form.