The following information will guide you on how to add a dependent spouse or minor child to your SEVIS record and Form DS-2019.
Issuance of Form DS-2019:
- Proof of relationship: If you wish to add your spouse or minor child to your SEVIS record, you will have to provide proof of this relationship to International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) either in the form of a copy of your marriage certificate translated into English, or in the form of your child's birth certificate, also translated into English.
- Proof of Funding: If your current Form DS-2019 does not include sufficient funding for you to support your dependent, you will also have to provide ISSS with proof of funding to cover not only you, but also your dependent until the expiration date on your Form DS-2019. The proof of funding must be submitted in the form of a bank letter that is less than six months old, or a letter from your sponsoring department that is less than six months old. If a third party is sponsoring you, such as a family member, they will have to provide a letter from their bank that is less than six months old.
- Biographical Information: You also need to provide ISSS with the following information for your new dependent: Last name, first name, middle name, gender, relationship to you, date of birth, city of birth, country of birth, country of citizenship, and country of permanent residence.
Once you have provided the required documents to add a new dependent to your SEVIS record via e-mail, and the documents have been reviewed and approved, new Forms DS-2019 will be issued for you and your dependent.
Applying for a J-2 Visa:
With the Form DS-2019, the original proof of relationship, original proof of funding documents, valid passport, and current photograph, your dependent will be able to apply for his/her J-2 visa from the U.S. Embassy in your home country. Please check the Department of State website
to inquire what other documents your dependent may need to submit.
After entering the U.S.:
Once your dependent has entered the U.S., you must immediately provide ISSS with copies of the newly stamped immigration documents: Passport biographic and expiration date pages, passport page bearing stamp from the last entry to the U.S., J-2 visa page, Form I-94, and Form DS-2019. If your J-2 dependent needs a DS-2019 travel validation for future reentries to the U.S., please contact your ISSS advisor for an appointment so that she can validate the J-2 DS-2019 for travel.
It is important to note that J-2 dependents are allowed to apply for employment authorization for a period of up to one year at a time.
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Conditions of J-2 Work Authorization
How to apply for J-2 Work Authorization
- You must hold valid J-2 status, and the exchange visitor must hold valid J-1 status, as shown on your Form I-94 Departure Records.
- Your income may not be used to support your J-1 spouse or parent.
- You may not begin to work until you have received your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS). The EAD is an identification card laminated in plastic, with your photograph, and the expiration date of your permission to work.
- You may work part-time or full-time, at any job, for any employer (except that you may not practice medicine, even if you have a license). There is no legal limit to the amount that you may earn.
- CIS can authorize J-2 employment for as long as the J-1 exchange visitor has permission to stay. Permission to stay expires on the date shown on Form I-94. If Form I-94 shows "Duration of Status" or "D/S," permission to stay expires on the program end date shown in item #3 of Form DS-2019. CIS practice is to limit issuance of all EADs to no more than one year at a time. Please note that J-2 employment authorization is valid only if the J-1 exchange visitor is maintaining status.
You will need the following items in order to apply:
- Form I-765, "Application for Employment Authorization." (available at International Student and Scholar Services; enter eligibility code (c)(5) in item #16).
- Two photos as specified in the Form I-765 instructions (with name and I-94 number written on back in pencil)
(Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure that the photographs comply with the I-765 instruction. ISSS does not assume any responsibility for CIS's decision as to whether your photographs meet the I-765 specifications.).
- Previous EADs (if applicable).
- CIS mailer in which previous EAD was received (if applicable).
- Copies of the J-1 exchange visitor's and your biographical passport pages, passport expiration date pages, J-1 and J-2 visa pages, and passport pages bearing entry stamp from last entry to U.S.
- Copies of both sides of the J-1 exchange visitor's Form I-94 and your Form I-94.
- Copies of the J-1 exchange visitor's Form DS-2019 and your Form DS-2019.
- Evidence of your relationship to the J-1 exchange visitor (i.e., J-2 spouse of a J-1 exchange visitor must include a copy of the marriage certificate and English translation).
- Money order for $380.00 made payable to "Department of Homeland Security."
- A letter (see sample in handout) from you, the J-2 dependent, to CIS requesting work permission. The point of the letter is not to demonstrate need; it is to show CIS that the J-1 exchange visitor has sufficient resources for his or her own expenses, and will not depend on your earnings. In the letter you should indicate the sources and amount of the J-1 exchange visitor's support, and include a short budget or statement of family expenses to show that his or her resources are adequate without any income from your employment. You should give a reason for wanting to work, some worthwhile interest or activity that might include family travel or recreational or cultural activities. In your letter you must say specifically that income from your earnings will not be used for the J-1 exchange visitor's support.
After review by International Student and Scholar Services, applications for J-2 employment authorization must be sent to the CIS Regional Service Center, Mesquite, Texas, for processing and adjudication.
It is estimated that it will take CIS a minimum of 120 to 150 days to process these applications. You may not begin employment until you receive your Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
Authorization to Work
CIS Form I-9, "Employment Eligibility Verification."
When you begin work, your employer will ask you to complete Form I-9, which requires you to document your work authorization. For Form I-9
, your EAD card is acceptable proof both of your identity and your permission to work.
If your permission to stay expires, so will your EAD. Your spouse's (or parent's) J-1 Responsible Officer or Alternate Responsible Officer will explain how to extend permission to stay for the J-1 exchange visitor and all J-2 dependents. A pending application for extension of stay, or for a new EAD, does not authorize you to continue working. When you have the new EAD, you will have to update Form I-9 with your employer.
A Social Security Number.
To put you on the payroll, your employer will need your Social Security number, which you can obtain by applying for a Social Security card. After you have obtained an EAD, please take your passport (if you are Canadian, you may use another form of photo-bearing identification), Form I-94, the J-1's Form DS-2019 and your Form DS-2019, and your EAD to an office of the Social Security Administration to apply for a Social Security card.
The earnings of J-2 dependents are subject to applicable federal, state and local taxes, and Social Security, and employers are required by law to withhold those taxes from paychecks. By April 15, you must file an income tax return, Form 1040NR, with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), covering the prior calendar year. The return determines whether you owe more taxes or the IRS owes you a refund. With Form 1040NR, you must also file a "Required Statement." Please consult IRS Publication 519, "U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens" for further information.
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