Dependents are defined as a spouse or an unmarried child under the age of 21.
J-2 visa(dependents of a J-1 visa holder)
- May be employed after obtaining an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card.
- May enroll in classes at any educational level
- May receive a Social Security Number, with proof of employment authorization
- Must have health insurance coverage that meets certain requirements.
- Subject to the same 212(e) (2-Year Physical-Presence Requirement) as the principal J-1 holder.
- J-2 status is contingent upon the principal J-1 status, if no other requirements are violated.
H-4 visa(dependents of an H-1B employee)
If the principal employee is in the United States and filing for a change of status to H-1B or an extension of H-1B status, dependents must petition for change or extension of H-4 status. Dependents who hold (or are eligible to hold) a visa status independent of the employee do not need to file for H-4 status.
- H-4 status is contingent upon the H-1B status
- H-4 dependents may not be employed in the U.S.
- An H-4 dependent child turning 21 must change to another non-immigrant status
To Change Status
The dependent must submit Form I-539 to USCIS with the employee's H-1B petition. The employee must pay the applicable USCIS filing fees for each change of status petition for his or her dependents. If the dependents are not already in the U.S., they must apply for an H-4 entry visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate.