Applying for an American Exchange Program (J2) Family Visa: Essential Advice

Applying for an American Exchange Program (J-2) Family Visa: Essential Advice

If you are planning to study or work in the United States under a J-1 visa, your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 can apply for a J-2 visa to accompany or follow you. J-2 visa holders can also study in the US and obtain work authorization after obtaining a work permit. But, before you apply for a J-2 visa, it is crucial to understand the application process, requirements, documents needed, and answer some common questions.

What is a J-2 visa?

A J-2 visa is a non-immigrant visa issued to the spouse and dependent unmarried children of a J-1 visa holder. J-2 visa holders can stay in the US for the same duration as the principal J-1 visa holder. They can also enter and exit the US multiple times, obtain a driver’s license, get a Social Security Number (SSN), and attend school in the US.

Requirements for J-2 visa

To be eligible for a J-2 visa, the applicant must be:

1. The spouse or unmarried child under 21 of a J-1 visa holder.

2. Fulfilling the requirement to accompany or follow the J-1 visa holder for the duration of their stay in the US.

3. Not engaging in employment before obtaining work authorization.

4. Having adequate financial resources to support their stay in the US.

Documents required for J-2 visa application

1. A valid passport that will remain valid for at least six months beyond the end of the J-2 visa holder’s intended stay.

2. A copy of the J-1 visa holder’s Form DS-2019.

3. A copy of the J-1 visa holder’s Valid I-94 Arrival/Departure Record.

4. A copy of the J-1 visa holder’s proof of employment or study in the US.

5. A completed online Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application form DS-160.

6. A passport-style photograph taken within the last six months.

7. Payment of the visa application fee.

8. Proof of relationship with the J-1 visa holder such as a marriage certificate or birth certificate.

9. Evidence that the J-2 visa holder has sufficient financial resources to support themselves during their stay in the US.

10. Proof of health insurance coverage for the J-2 visa holder.

J-2 visa application process

1. Complete the online Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application form DS-160.

2. Pay the visa application fee.

3. Schedule an interview appointment at the US embassy or consulate in your home country.

4. Gather and prepare all necessary documents listed above.

5. Attend the visa interview appointment and answer all questions truthfully.

6. Wait for the visa application to be approved or denied.

7. If approved, obtain the J-2 visa and travel to the US.

FAQs for J-2 visa application

Q1. Can I work in the US with a J-2 visa?

A1. You need to obtain work authorization by filing Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization. J-2 visa holders can work for any employer in the US, but they are not permitted to be self-employed.

Q2. Do I need to attend a visa interview appointment?

A2. Yes, all J-2 visa applicants must attend a visa interview appointment at a US embassy or consulate in their home country.

Q3. Is health insurance mandatory for J-2 visa holders?

A3. Yes, J-2 visa holders must have healthcare insurance coverage throughout their stay in the US.

Q4. Can J-2 visa holders study in the US?

A4. Yes, J-2 visa holders can study in the US without obtaining any additional permission. However, they must maintain their status and cannot study full-time if the J-1 visa holder is not maintaining their obligation.

Q5. Can J-2 visa holders travel to other countries while in the US?

A5. Yes, J-2 visa holders can travel outside the US and return provided they have a valid passport, J-2 visa, and necessary documents. However, they must ensure that they maintain their status and do not abandon their J-2 visa while outside the US.

In conclusion, applying for a J-2 visa can be a complex process, but with the right preparation and understanding the requirements, you can make the process less daunting. It is advisable to begin the application process as soon as possible to avoid any delays or complications. Hopefully, this article has provided some essential advice that will help you in obtaining a J-2 visa and successfully accompanying your principal J-1 visa holder to the US.

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