J-2 Status for Spouses, Partners & Children

The spouse or partner and dependent children of the J-1 Student Exchange Visitor are eligible for J-2 status and may use this status to accompany the J-1 individual to the U.S. To be eligible for J-2 your child must not be over the age of 21. No other family members are eligible for J-2 status. You must also demonstrate sufficient financial resources for their support. You will receive an email survey from OISS upon your acceptance of your offer of admission that will ask you for the relevant information about any family members accompanying you.

To notify OISS that a spouse, partner, or child will join you after your arrival, complete the F-1 and J-1 Dependent SEVIS Information Form and submit it to your OISS adviser along with a copy of their passport and evidence of sufficient funds to support their stay.

Applying for J-2 Status

Each person in J-2 status must have their own DS-2019. With the DS-2019 the J-2 dependent may apply for a J-2 visa at the U.S. Consulate.

J-1/J-2 Health Insurance Requirement

All Exchange Visitors (J-1) and their J-2 dependents are required to maintain health and accident insurance coverage during the entire time they participate in an Exchange Visitor program. In the process of requesting Yale J visa sponsorship, your spouse signed our Insurance Compliance Form stating that you would have health insurance while at Yale. See Health Insurance Requirement for more information.


J-2 visa holders (the spouses, partners, and dependent children of J-1's) may apply for permission to work in the United States through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Title 8, Code of Federal Regulations, part 214.2(j)(1(v) states that, “income from the spouse's or dependent's employment may be used to support the family's customary recreational and cultural activities and related travel, among other things. Employment will not be authorized if this income is needed to support the J-1 principal …”  (i.e the person holding J-1 status.)

Application Procedures

The application for J-2 employment authorization includes:

  • A letter to USCIS, explaining the reason for requesting employment authorization.
  • Completed Form I-765
    (Caution: Use the paper form only. DO NOT submit online.)
  • All copies of DS-2019 forms and I-94 records for both J-1 and J-2 visa holders
  • A copy of your J-2 visa stamp in the passport, and the passport page with your photo and information
  • A personal check or money order for $410 payable to US Department of Homeland Security. (A personal check is preferable because, if necessary, you will be able to determine if it has been cashed.)
  • Two passport type color photographs. You should print your name lightly in pencil on the back of the two photographs (include the number on your previous EAD if you have one).
  • If you have applied for an EAD before, a photocopy of your Employment Authorization Document (back and front)

Your OPT application and all of the required documentation above must be sent to the USCIS Lockbox facility. Find the correct lockbox and the relevant address here (look under “Foreign Students”, category (c)(3)(i)). Please note that the address of the lockbox facility is slightly different depending on your mailing method (via USPS or courier service).

Make sure you keep a copy of all the documents you submit.

After mailing the documents, you will receive a notice (Form I-797) stating you need to wait for about 80 days to receive your EAD. This is your receipt, so take care not to lose it.

Remember, you cannot begin your employment until you have received the Employment Authorization Document (EAD card) from USCIS. If you are applying for a renewal of your J-2 work permission you cannot work beyond the previously authorized date until you receive a new EAD.

Anyone who earns money in the United States must have a social security number for taxpayer identification purposes. The Office of International Students and Scholars can provide you with instructions on applying for a social security number. J-2 visa holders are subject to social security taxes, federal income taxes and, where applicable, state and local income taxes.