J-2 Dependents

Inviting Family to the United States

While at UC Santa Cruz you may invite a spouse and/or children to visit or join you in the U.S. Spouses and unmarried minor children (under 21 years of age) are eligible for J-2 status. To request a J-2 DS-2019 complete the Dependent Request form and submit it along with the required documentation (as a single pdf file) to an International Scholar Advisor at ischolar@ucsc.edu. You will be contacted to pick-up the dependent DS-2019(s) when ready, in 7 business days. You will need to send the original document(s) to your family member(s) for his/her J-2 visa application.

Extended Family and Domestic Partners

Extended family (parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, etc.) and domestic partners are not eligible to come to the U.S. as J-2 dependents. They must apply for a B-1/B-2 Visitor visa, or come to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program. Please have the family member refer to a specific U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a list of required documentation. Use this letter template to write your own letter of invitation if necessary.

Maintaining J-2 Status

After arriving in the U.S. a J-2 dependent should check in with an International Scholar Advisor. Health insurance that meets DOS standards is also required for dependent(s). J-1/J-2 will need to provide proof of health insurance during check-in.


J-2 dependents can apply for Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from USCIS in order to work in the United States. The J-2 may begin working after receiving the EAD from USCIS. Please refer to the Work Authorization Guidelines for information about applying for an EAD. 

Extension of Stay

J-2 dependent is covered by an extension of stay if granted to the J-1 principal. New DS-2019s reflecting the extension period will be issued to the J-1 and J-2.

Early Departures

If a spouse and/or children depart the U.S. before the J-1, with no intention of returning to the U.S. for the remainder of the J-1’s program, please inform IFSS advisors of the final departure. This information will be reported to SEVIS; the dependent record(s) will be made Inactive.

Studying in the U.S.

There is no regulatory restriction on study for J-2 dependent(s).

Travel Abroad and reentry

A J-2 dependent who wants to travel outside the U.S. and reenter the country follows the same procedure as the J-1 principal. Proper documentation to reenter the United States includes a valid passport, J-2 visa, and current valid DS-2019, properly endorsed for travel by an RO/ARO (Responsible Officer/Alternate Responsible Officer).

Tax Obligation

A J-2 dependent is required to report state and federal income taxes. If there is no income the J-2 may need to file Form 8843 to the Internal Revenue Service. Please refer to our website on tax resources. IFSS is unable to provide tax advice beyond what is listed on our tax resource webpage.

Last modified: Dec 07, 2023