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The J-2 Visa is a non-immigrant visa for spouses and dependents of J-1 exchange visitors who accompany or later join the J-1 holder in the United States.

Requesting J-2 sponsorship

J-1 visa holders are eligible to request that their spouse and/or child (children) accompany them to the United States on a dependent visa. To request a J-2 visa, please access our Dependent Request E-Form. (Log in with your Lehigh credentials.)

Please scroll through the form first – it is important to have all requested information available. Once you have collected and entered all pertinent information, please hit the submit button. ISS staff will be notified once you have submitted the form.

Dependent requests take three to five business days to be processed. 

Bars and Limitations

These apply to the J-2 visa holder as soon as they enter the U.S. in J-2 status.

Two-Year Home Country Residency Requirement [INA 212(e)] 

Be sure to read page two of your DS-2019. You and your J-2 dependents will be subject to this requirement if your J-1 program is funded by either your government or the U.S. government, involves specialized knowledge or skills deemed necessary by your home country, or if you come to the U.S. for graduate medical training. If this requirement applies to you, you must return to your home country for a cumulative total of two years at the end of your J-1 program. You are not prohibited from traveling to the U.S. but you may not benefit from certain employment-based or family-based visas until the requirement is satisfied. 

24-Month Bar

If you are coming to Lehigh University as a J-1 Research Scholar or Professor, you and your J-2 dependents will become subject to the 24-month bar if: (1) you complete a full five years of J-1 Research Scholar or Professor program participation with one or more J-1 program sponsors; or (2) you completed a particular J-1 Research Scholar or Professor program of any length, and your SEVIS record becomes inactive before the full five-year period is over. You must then wait at least 24 months before you may begin a new J-1 program in the Research Scholar or Professor category.

**Before taking any action in regards to additional visa types of a J-2, while in the U.S., please see an ISS Advisor as soon as possible.

J-2 Employment

This checklist is provided as a courtesy to the spouses of J-1 scholars at Lehigh University. See Application Process below. It does not constitute legal advice.

Permission to work will not be authorized by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) if the employment is for the support of the J-1 exchange visitor. The money earned by a J-2 spouse may be for J-2 travel, recreational, or cultural activities. If the income is needed to support the exchange visitor, USCIS will not authorize employment.

The current processing time for J-2 work authorization applications is up to 90 days or longer. J-2 work authorization is generally granted for one year, or for the period of time you are authorized to stay in the United States, as indicated on the Form DS-2019 (if less than one year). However, if the Form DS-2019 is valid for more than one year, USCIS may, at its discretion, issue an employment authorization document (EAD) that is valid for a longer period of time. Requests for a longer validity period should be made in writing at the time of application. Enclose a cover letter requesting work authorization until the ending date on the Form DS-2019.

If you are preparing to submit a J-2 work permission application (Form I-765 and accompanying documents) to USCIS, please thoroughly review the checklist below. The USCIS instructions are available here.

J-2 EAD Application Process
  • $410 application fee. You may pay the fee with a money order, personal check or cashier’s check payable to Department of Homeland Security. 
  • Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization): The J-2 applicant should complete this form. We recommend typing the application using the fillable form to avoid errors on your EAD. In item 25, write "J-2 Dependent." In item 27, write "c" inside the first set of parentheses and "5" inside the second set. Leave the third set blank.
  • Form G-1145 (optional). Use this form to request an e-notification from USCIS when your application is received. Use a paperclip to attach the form to the front of your application.
  • Two passport-style photographs that meet USCIS requirements. Print your name on the back of each photo. Do not cut photos to size; USCIS will cut them to their specifications.
  • J-2 statement: On a separate piece of paper, the J-2 applicant should state that the work permission is not necessary to support the J-1 visa holder but is for other purposes (e.g. cultural, recreational, and travel expenses for the J-2 dependent).
  • J-2 immigration documents: Photocopies of the J-2's current and any previous Forms DS-2019; J-2 entry visa stamp, and passport identity page(s). [If you are applying for an extension of your current EAD, include a copy of your current EAD (front and back) along with the paper slip it was attached to when you received it in the mail].
  • J-2 admission record: Photocopies of most recent admission stamp in the passport and printout of your electronic I-94 admission record OR photocopies of paper Form I-94 (front and back), if applicable.
  • J-1 immigration documents and admission record: Photocopies of the J-1's Form DS-2019; most recent admission stamp in the passport and printout of the electronic I-94 admission record OR photocopies of paper Form I-94 (front and back), if applicable; J-1 entry visa stamp; and passport identity page(s).

Make copies of everything for your own records before you send the application. We suggest you mail this application at the post office by "Certified Mail/return receipt requested" or Express Mail.

Mailing address for U.S. POstal SErvice DeliveriesMailing Address for Express Mail Deliveries
Attn: NFB
P.O. Box 21281
Phoenix, AZ 85036-1281
Attn: NFB (Box 21281)
1820 E. Skyharbor Circle S
Suite 100
Phoenix, AZ 85034-4850

Please note: If you do not live in Pennsylvania, you may be required to mail your application to a different address. Click here for more information.

Please remember:

Your work permission will not be in effect until USCIS approves it. Once approved, USCIS will send you an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Make copies of both sides of the EAD when you receive it, and keep the paper slip it is attached to, as you will need it for any extension applications.

You may check the status of your application online, once you receive a receipt notice from USCIS. If you have a problem with your application, call the National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283 or 1-800-767-1833 (TTY).

J-2 Social Security Number and Taxes

If you request a Social Security number (SSN) in item 14 of the I-765, you should receive it a few weeks after you receive the EAD.

If you did not request a SSN on Form I-765, after receiving your EAD, you will need to apply for a Social Security number by going in person to the Social Security Administration. Take your passport; most recent admission stamp in the passport and printout of the electronic I-94 admission record OR photocopies of paper Form I-94 (front and back), if applicable; Form DS-2019, and EAD with you to show work authorization.

Earnings of J-2 visa holders are subject to U.S. Social Security taxes, as well as federal and state income taxes. See IRS Publication 519, "United States Tax Guide for Aliens," available on the IRS website.

J-2 Extension

If you and the J-1 exchange visitor will remain in the United States after the end date of your current EAD, you must obtain an extension of employment authorization in order to continue working. The application procedure is the same as for your original permission. Send a copy of your current EAD (include the paper slip that your current EAD was attached to when you received it in the mail) along with the other required documents as outlined on the checklist. Another EAD will be issued with new dates. The J-1's extension of stay must be granted before Form I-765 for extension of work permission for the J-2 is submitted to USCIS. The extension of work authorization is the same as above. It is important to complete both the extension of stay and the extension of employment authorization procedures before the expiration date of the J-1's current Form DS-2019.