Dependents accompanying a J-1 exchange visitor will enter the U.S. in the J-2 category. All J-2 dependents are required to have a separate Form DS-2019 and a machine-readable visa stamp in their passport in order to make a lawful entry to the U.S.

Due to personal circumstances, many dependents choose to follow the principal at a later date. This does not present a problem. The Center for Immigration Services and Support (ISS) can process a DS-2019 for a dependent at any time as long as the J-1 principal is maintaining valid J-1 status.

The nonimmigrant status of a J-2 dependent is linked to the status of the J-1. If the J-1 violates his/her nonimmigrant status, the violation automatically affects the status of all J-2 dependents.