J-2 Dependents

J-1 Scholars can bring their spouse or children (under the age of 21) as a J-2 dependent status for the duration of the scholar’s program. The J-2 dependent will need a dependent DS-2019 Form to apply for a J-2 visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate outside of the U.S.


If your spouse and/or children will only be visiting you for a short period, they may wish to apply for a tourist visa. See the Department of State website for more information.


To add a dependent, please submit clearly scanned copies of the following documents through DocuSign:

  1. Copy of Marriage Certificate or Birth Certificate
  2. Copy of Passport for dependent
  3. Financial documentation (i.e. bank statement)-demonstrating at least $7,000 USD for the first dependent and $4,000 for each additional dependent.
  4. Translation of any document that is not in English

*Processing times for such requests are 5-7 business days. This process is only for continuing scholars at SMU, new scholars will submit all documentation with the DS-2019 Request (Part I).

Maintaining J-2 Dependent Status

J-2 dependents MUST check-in with the International Student and Scholar Services office upon arrival. Please be sure to bring the following documents with you:

  1. Original DS-2019
  2. Original Passport & Visa (if applicable)
  3. I-94 Arrival Record (can be printed after arrival to the U.S. at cbp.gov/I94)
  4. Proof of Health Insurance
  5. Must have U.S. Residential Address, U.S. Phone Number, and Email (for spouse dependents only).

To make an appointment to check-in with the ISSS office see calendar below.

J-1 Exchange Visitors and their J-2 dependents are required to have medical insurance coverage with the following minimum benefits [22 CFR 62.14]:

  • Medical benefits of at least $100,000 US Dollars (USD) per accident or illness
  • Repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000 USD
  • Expenses associated with the medical evacuation of the exchange visitor to his or her home country in the amount of $50,000 USD
  • A deductible not to exceed $500 USD per accident or illness.

Continuous coverage is required from the start and end date of the program. If a J-1 Exchange Visitor or J-2 Dependent is found to have willfully not comply with this requirement, the ISSS office has an obligation to terminate the scholar’s/student’s SEVIS record.

Health Insurance Providers
Health Insurance Compliance Form


A J-2 spouse or child can apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from United States Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS) in order to be employed in the United States. The J-2 may begin employment only after receiving the EAD from USCIS. Application process is typically 3-4 months.


  • Dependent must hold valid J-2 status and the Exchange Visitor must hold valid J-1 status
  • Income earned with an approved EAD must not be used to support the J-1 scholar.
  • Dependents may only work after they receive an EAD card from the USCIS and only during the dates indicated on the EAD card.
  • Dependents may work part-time or full-time, at any job, for any employer (except practice medicine, even if licensed). There is no legal limit to the amount that you may earn.
  • USCIS can authorize J-2 employment for as long as the J-1 Exchange Visitor has permission to stay or for a period of four years, whichever is shorter. Permission to stay expires on the date shown on the DS-2019 form. Please note: USCIS only authorizes periods of work for one year at a time.

How to Apply

To apply for an EAD, please compile the following documents and make an appointment with an Alternative/Responsible Officer at SMU by emailing internationalscholars@smu.edu:

  1. Complete J-2 Application form Employment Authorization form
  2. Complete I-765 Form, do not forget to sign at the bottom. The code for question 20 is "(C)(5)( )”.
  3. Check or money order made payable to the Department of Homeland Security for filing fees
  4. Two (2) passport photos with I-94 number and family name written on back of each picture in pencil
  5. Copy of both the J-1’s and J-2’s DS-2019 forms.
  6. Copy of both the J-1’s and J-2’s passport identity pages (including picture, name, and expiration date).
  7. Copy of both the J-1’s and J-2’s I-94 card (front & back) or an I-94 printout (cbp.gov/i94)
  8. Brief letter from J-2 dependent explaining that the work permission is not to support the J-1
  9. Copy of J-2’s previous EAD cards (front and back), if applicable.
  10. Copy of marriage or birth certificate and English translation, if not in English.
  11. Form G-1145 e-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance, Optional

J-2 Work Authorization Application

J-2 dependents are allowed to study. Typically, J-2 dependents seeking to enhance their English proficiency skills. J-2 dependents interested in attending an Intensive English Program at SMU, can visit the Intensive English Program’s website.

Please notify the ISSS office if a J-2 dependent will depart the U.S. without the intention of returning to the U.S. The ISSS office is required to report this early departure in SEVIS. Please submit the Notice of Departure form to internationalscholars@smu.edu. You will have 15 days from the time the form is submitted to leave the country.

Notice of Departure