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J-2 Visa Requirements for Nigerians

The J-2 visa allows immediate family members of J-1 visa holders to accompany them to the United States for the duration of their exchange program. While the application process is largely similar to that of the J-1 visa and often takes place at the same time, it is important to understand the specific eligibility requirements beforehand.

If you or a family member are interested in applying for a J-2 visa or need additional advice, you can visit our local office in Lagos, Nigeria and call us at +23413438882 or at +44 (0) 3316300929 for immediate help with your US visa petition.

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We have successfully helped numerous Nigerians obtain their J-2 visas. If you have any questions about the requirements and the application process do not hesitate to contact us. Let us handle all the complexities and make your travel plans as stress-free as possible.

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What Is a J-2 Visa?

The J-2 visa is a non-immigrant visa under the US Exchange Program that allows non-permanent residence in the United States for direct family members of J-1 visa holders as their dependents. This includes spouses and underage children, but not parents, siblings, or children over the age of 21.

As a derivative of the J-1 visa, eligibility and restrictions largely depend on the specific exchange program. As a dependent, your status is subject to any changes made to the status of the primary J-1 visa holder and will only remain valid as long as all conditions of the exchange program are met.

J-1 and J-2 visa beneficiaries may enter the US up to 30 days before the program starts and are expected to leave within a grace period of 30 days after its end date. If the sponsor terminates the program, you are expected to depart immediately.

Am I Eligible for a J-2 Visa?

Overview

The J-2 visa is limited to immediate family members. You may qualify if you are:

  • Married to a J-1 visa holder
  • The unmarried child of a J-1 visa holder and under the age of 21

You will have to prove your relationship status to the principal J-1 visa holder. If you are dating or in an unofficial partnership you will not qualify for a J-2 visa. Family members or partners who do not meet the requirements may be able to apply for a B-1 or B-2 visitor visa instead.

The J-1 visa holder will need proof that they have sufficient funds to support themselves and any dependent for the entire duration of the program.

The monthly amounts needed are $1,310/month of individual support for the J-1 visa holder, $666/month for the first J-2 dependent, and $562/month for each additional J-2 dependent. All J-1 and J-2 visitors will need to be covered by health insurance while in the US.

You should keep in mind that there are different J-1 visa classifications which may or may not allow dependents. It is at the discretion of individual organisations to give or deny permission.

Some exchange categories that do not offer J-2 visas include, but are not limited to:

  • Au pairs
  • Camp counsellors
  • Students
  • Work and travel participants

If you or a family member are planning to bring along a spouse or children, it is best to inquire about this when seeking a sponsor. There is no annual limit to the number of J-2 visas that can be issued to eligible applicants.

Working on a J-2 Visa

J-2 visa beneficiaries are usually able to seek employment in the US after they have officially entered.

You will need to be approved for a work permit or EAD (Employment Authorization Document) by the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). To apply, file Form I-765 and pay the filing fee. You will also need to include a cover letter, copies of your visa documents, as well as proof that the J-1 visa holder has sufficient funds to support themselves.

Once you have obtained your EAD you may apply for a Social Security Number and start working full-time or part-time for any employer. There are no restrictions as to salary, but keep in mind that you will be subject to federal and local income tax.

Your EAD will most likely be valid for 12 months or until the end of your J-2 visa. Applications may take around 90 days and it is recommended that you apply for renewal well in advance. Should your EAD expire, you must stop working until you receive a new one.

Studying on a J-2 Visa

J-2 dependents may enrol in any academic program within the US.

Should your J-2 status expire before the end of your studies, you will need to apply for a different visa such as a F-1 student visa. Remember that a J-2 visa for a child expires when they turn 21.

Let our expert guidance lead you through the requirements, ensuring a seamless path to your J-2 Visa.

How Do I Apply for a J-2 Visa?

Overview

Each applicant will need a valid Form DS-2019 issued by the sponsor of the exchange program. This form provides specific information about the sponsor and the applicant, as well as details about the start and end date of the program, expected costs, and visa category.

You will also need to file Form DS-160 to the US Department of State, which you can do electronically on their website. During this process, you will need to enter your details correctly and upload a passport-style photograph. Don’t forget to pay your visa processing fee.

The Interview

When you are ready and your payment has been processed, you can apply for an interview at the US Embassy in Abuja or the US Consulate in General Lagos. Waiting times can be long, so make sure you start your application process early.

J-2 visa interview questions may ask about your relationship to the J-1 visa holder, the purpose of your trip (providing information about the exchange program and your connection to the J-1 visa holder will often suffice here), evidence of financial support, and your intentions after the exchange period has ended.

While the J-2 visa rejection rate averages at around 6% for Nigerian applications, it is essential that you provide complete and correct information.

Among the main J-2 visa rejection reasons are missing or incorrect documents, failure to prove your relationship or financial status, or failure to convince the interviewers that you intend to return to your home country after the exchange program has ended.

Documents

You will need the following documents for your J-2 visa application:

  • Interview confirmation letter
  • Valid passport (at least six months from expiry)
  • DS-160 confirmation barcode
  • Visa application fee payment receipt
  • Each applicant’s Form DS-2019
  • Copy of J-1 visa holder’s DS-2019 and other immigration documents
  • Proof of relationship status (such as marriage certificate or birth certificate)
  • Proof of sufficient funds to cover living expenses
  • Recent passport-style photographs

Fees and Processing Time

Your application will only start processing once you have paid your visa application fee. This is a one-time non-refundable and non-transferrable payment of $185 per applicant, which remains valid for a year. You may pay online or with cash at your bank.

If you applied for a J-2 visa at the same time as the J-1 visa, they will usually be processed together which may take one or two weeks. If you are applying later, processing may take around 30 days, but the exact time might vary.

Our expert team is dedicated to providing you with the support you need to secure the J-2 Visa and make the most of your time in the United States.

How Can IAS Help?

Filing a US visa petition can be a stressful process and getting it wrong may lead to months of delay. Seeking professional advice can make this easier and prevent unnecessary complications.

Our friendly immigration lawyers can:

  • Review your eligibility for J-2 visa status
  • Help you prepare for your application interview
  • Find the best visa options for you and your family members

You can visit our office in Lagos, Nigeria, or call us at +23413438882 or +44 (0) 3316300929 to find out more about how we can assist you on your way towards a successful US visa application.

We offer immigration advice sessions as face to face appointments at our Lagos office, all of our UK offices, or via the phone.

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Frequently Asked Questions

You will need a valid travel signature on your Form DS-2019 from the OIA. Make sure your passport, visa, and DS-2019 do not expire while abroad. Travelling outside of the country for over 30 days may impact your visa.

While the J-2 visa cannot be extended on its own, it is subject to any changes made to the J-1 visa. A sponsor may decide to extend the duration of the exchange program.

Visitors on J-1 and J-2 visas are expected to leave the US within 30 days after the exchange program has ended. You may be able to apply for a migrant visa or a green card based on family or employment reasons. If you are subject to a two-year home residency requirement, you will need a waiver to do so.

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