Moving to a different country is an exciting and sometimes challenging experience. This page contains useful immigration information for scholars and their families to assist in the transition to the University of South Carolina. For more information on adapting life in the U.S., you will find the Living in Columbia section of the ISSS website useful. You can also find information specifically for dependents and about J-2 work authorization.
Some international students and scholars prefer that their spouse and children accompany them while in the U.S.
Dependents (spouse and/or children) must have a SEVIS record, a valid visa, and their own J-2 DS-2019. In order for ISSS to issue a DS-2019 certificate of eligibility for a family member, please submit supporting documentation:
- Initailly through the Exchange Visitor Questionnaire & Attestion, or
- The Exchange Visitor Request to Add Dependent form, and
- Financial documentation (please refer to this section of our website for information about financials).
At the J-2 visa interview, you will need a valid J-2 DS-2019. You must also have a valid passport and must be able to demonstrate eligibility for J-2 visa status, such as proof of relationship to the J-1 exchange visitor (e.g., a marriage certificate for spouses or a birth certificate for minor dependent children) as well as demonstrate proof of ties to your home country/nonimmigrant intent.
J-2 spouses will need to attend the check-in appointment with the J-1 scholar. If this is not possible, please schedule a separate appointment to check in with ISSS.
Please note: Dependent check-in is required for J-2 visa holders. During a dependent check-in, we will review resources for dependents and provides a general introduction to life in the United States. All spouses must bring their immigration documents with them to the check-in: DS-2019, passport, visa, and I-94 printout. J-2 visa holders must also provide proof of health insurance coverage.
Medical care can be extremely expensive in the United States, and without health insurance a medical emergency can be financially disastrous.
J-1 Exchange Visitors are required by law to maintain insurance coverage for themselves as well as all dependents on a J-2 visa during the entire length of the program (start to end dates on the DS-2019. The insurance must meet a set of minimum federal requirements for the duration of their Exchange Visitor Program. Failure to maintain adequate health insurance coverage for the entire duration of the DS-2019 for either the J-1 or J-2 may result in termination of the J-1 visa holder’s record.
For J-2 employment authorization details, see this section of the ISSS website.