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J-2 Dependents

  • Your J-2 lawful status is the official U.S. government designation and authorization of your stay in the U.S. as a non-immigrant dependent of a J-1 Principal status holder. Your status is dependent upon and in effect for the duration of your J-1 principal.

    Before leaving the port of entry, check to make sure this information has been entered in your documents.

    This status is granted at your port of entry by a Customs and Border Protection officer who reviews your visa and other documents, and upon your admittance, writes your immigration status and the length of time you may remain in the U.S. on your Form I-94 and Form DS-2019.

    • You will probably have “D/S” as the length of stay; it means “duration of status” until the program completion date noted on your Form DS-2019—providing you continue to maintain the requirements of your status.
    • In most instances, your visa category and immigration status will be the same, J-2, unless you change your lawful status after entering the U.S. For example, you may change from J-2 status as a student to J-1 status as a dependent of an J-1.

    Immigration matters are the responsibility of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

  • Under U.S. immigration law and realizing that your status is dependent upon and in effect for the duration of your J-1 principal status holder, it is your responsibility to maintain J-2 lawful dependent status. Begin by reading the instructions on page 2 of your Form DS-2019; then carefully follow them and the information below:

    Travel is only permitted before your program ending date. To re-enter the United States, you must have a current signed Form DS-2019, a valid passport and a valid J-1 visa (unless your travel was to Canada or Mexico and only for less than 30 days).

    1. Maintain a valid passport—Federal regulations require that you maintain a valid passport at all times. International Services staff will assist with this processing upon request.
    2. Keep your passport, Form I-94, and Form DS-2019 in a safe place while here in Provo and keep these papers in your possession at all times when traveling outside of Provo.
    3. Notify International Services when changing your address—After you have provided International Services (IS) with your physical address of residence in the United States when you check in, you must notify IS with ten (10) days of any change in address. This is done by updating your address in Route Y. Address changes will be reported to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). A change in mailing address does not require reporting.
    4. Maintain the required level of personal health insurance—Obtain and maintain the required sickness and accident insurance and medical evacuation and repatriation insurance (which meet Department of State requirements) during the duration of time you are at BYU. A willful failure to carry insurance is considered to be a violation of the exchange visitor program regulations.
    5. Request extensions of permission to remain in this country if necessary and if you qualify. As you continue to remain in status, you are allowed to remain in the U.S. for the time designated on your Form I-94 (a small white card entitled Departure Record) in your passport. If the card has a D/S notation instead of an expiration date, then the stay expires when the DS-2019 expires.
    6. Limit employment to that which is specifically authorized—You may apply for and receive authorization to work under some circumstances; however, your employment may not be the means of supporting your J-1 principal.
    7. Obtain permission to travel on temporary visits outside the United States—You must have your Forms DS-2019s signed by an authorized officer in IS approving authorizing the travel before you leave the United States.
  • Your status is dependent on the status of your J-1 principal status holder. You are responsible to become aware of and dutifully observe the requirements to maintain your lawful status.

    If you or your J-1 principal fail to abide by the requirements of your status, you are considered to be out of status which may be grounds by the government for your removal from the U.S.

    If you think you are out of status, contact International Services immediately to review your situation. If you are out of status, you will not be eligible for a travel signature, change of status, or any employment benefits.

    The following are considered to be substantive violations that require application to the U.S. Department of State (DOS) for reinstatement:

    • Being out of valid program status for more than 120 days after the end date on your current Form DS-2019
    • Application Criteria—You may apply for reinstatement if you:
      • Have not knowingly or willfully failed to obtain or maintain the required health insurance at all times while in the U.S.
      • Have not engaged in unauthorized employment—It is illegal to work anywhere when out of status
      • Have not been suspended or terminated from your most recent exchange visitor program
      • Failed to maintain valid program status for more than 270 calendar days
      • Have not received a favorable recommendation from the DOS on an application for waiver of the home residency requirement
      • Failed to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee
    • How to Apply
      1. International Services must initiate your reinstatement request in SEVIS.
      2. Obtain the following:
        • Money order or personal check for $198 made to U.S. Department of State
        • Copies of all DS-2019s that have been issued to you
        • Fee receipt for payment of the SEVIS I-901 fee
        • Written explanation from International Services
          • that you are pursuing or were at all times intending to pursue the original program activity for which you were admitted to the U.S.
          • supporting explanation of one of the following—or in the case of being out of status for more than 120 days, explanation of both of the following:
            • that the violation was due to circumstances beyond your control, to administrative delay or oversight or excusable neglect on your part or that of International Services
            • that it would be an unusual hardship to you if the DOS does not grant the reinstatement
    • Submit the application and related materials to:U.S. Department of State Office of Exchange Coordination and Designation

      ECA/EC/AC - SA-44, Room 820
      301 4th Street, S.W.
      Washington, D.C. 20547

    • If Application is Approved
      • E-mail notice will be sent to International Services within about 45 days
      • You will be eligible for any J benefits for which you qualify
    • If Application is Denied
      • E-mail notice will be sent to International Services within about 45 days
      • Your current visa will be automatically canceled.
      • You will be permanently limited to applying for visas in your home country.
      • You will not be allowed to continue your studies at BYU.
      • You will be required to depart the United States within a designated time given in the notice of denial.
      • An official record of your status violation will be recorded with the DOS.
  • Following are general guidelines and requirements for your travel and reentry. However, because individual circumstances vary, consult with International Services, your embassy or legal advisor before traveling.

    Inside the U.S.

    • Special permission is not required for you to travel within the U.S.
    • Whenever you travel outside the Provo area, you are advised to carry your

    Outside the U.S.

    • Questions and Answers about Exchange Visitor Program:
    • Documents
      • Entry to another country—other countries have rules and restrictions on who can enter their country and how
        • If you travel to your country of citizenship or permanent residence, you will generally be allowed to enter if you have a valid passport or other travel document issued by that country.
        • If you travel to a third country (a country other than the U.S. or your home country), you are responsible for knowing whether you need an entry visa for that country.
          • Some countries will require a visa. You may also need an in-transit visa for countries where you are making a connecting flight. Most countries have immigration websites that provide visa information.
          • Canada—Persons from many countries are required to obtain a Canadian entry visa when entering Canada from the United States. Visas may be obtained from the Canadian Consulate General. Consult the Canadian Consulate General for visa regulations concerning your country before making travel arrangements.
      • Re-entry to the U.S.
        • Visa—must
          • be valid
          • allow further entries and
          • match your current status listed on your I-94
        • Passport
          • Must be valid for at least six months into the future; however,
          • Some passports are only required to be valid when you enter the U.S.
        • Form I-94—you should not surrender your current I-94 when you exit the U.S. unless you have changed your status and will be returning with a new visa.
        • Form DS-2019 that
          • Is issued by BYU
          • Is current
          • Contains an endorsement signature from International Services for travel on page 1
            • The signature is valid for 12 months
        • If traveling separately from your principal visa holder, you should also carry a photocopy of their visa, Form I-94 and Form DS-2019.
        • Current financial documentation issued within the last four months
    • Special Situations
      • Pending Applications for Adjustment of Status—If you have a pending application for adjustment of your non-immigrant status to permanent residency, you will need permission to travel before leaving the U.S. by obtaining Advance Parole. more
      • If you require a new visa, there is no guarantee that you will be readmitted.