J2 Visa for Canadian Citizens
When a J1 visa has been granted to a scholar for any academic program in the United States, such a scholar must now consider how they will bring in those who are their immediate family members along with them to the United States. The scholar can only use the J1 visa status and does not extend any privileges to anyone.
Family support can be integral to the student’s success while in the program in the United States of America. The support, however, will be lacking where these family members are in a location far away from the student’s reach, maybe in their home country.
The United States government has created a category of visa and visa status that is tied to the visa of the J1 scholar. The visa in focus can be used by the immediate family members of the J1 visa holder to enter the United States and be with the scholar. The visa status is known as the J2 visa.
What is the J2 visa?
The J2 visa is a non-immigrant visa designed as a vehicle to grant access to the dependents or family members of the J1 visa holder, allowing them to join them in the United States during the duration of their visa.
Who are dependants? The dependents of the J1 visa holder as envisaged by the design of the visa are the spouses and unmarried children of the J1 visa holder under the age of 21. Children above the age of 21 or married are not allowed to be part of this visa. Also, partners who are not married cannot be afforded the opportunity presented by this visa. The visa requirements are strict, and only a legally recognized wife or husband, or child under age 21 can be a partaker.
When they grow beyond the age of 21 will lose the protections and privileges accorded them by this visa. They may, however, be entitled to other kinds of visas. The J2 visa can be given to as many people as possible who apply. Thus, there are no limitations on the number of people that can get it each year, as long as the individuals concerned are qualified.
The J2 visa remains valid only if the J1 visa is also still valid. If for any reason, the J1 visa becomes invalid, it will affect the status of the J2 visa holder. Therefore, if the J2 visa holder must maintain their Visa Status, they must ensure that the J1 visa holder maintains theirs.
What are the requirements for getting access to a J2 Visa?
A J2 visa can be accessed by the dependents of the J1 visa holder only in certain conditions. These include:
- There must be a J1 visa holder. The J2 visa is tied very intricately with the availability of a J1 visa holder. Thus, before an individual can apply for the J2 visa, there must be a J1 visa holder.
- The status of being a dependent. The individual applying for the visa must be connected to the J1 visa holder in a dependent status. These include the spouse of a scholar and unmarried children.
- The program or sponsor of the J1 visa holder must permit the scholar can bring a dependent. There are programs in the United States that do not allow the scholar to bring in any dependents. These programs can be for such a short whole or for categories of people who cannot have any dependents. An example of a program that may not permit dependent status is a scholar pursuing a high school education.
- Also, the program’s sponsor may not be interested in allowing the J1 visa holder to bring in any dependents to the United States.
Applying for J2 Visa as a qualified Canadian dependant
Canadians are exempt from all requirements of applying for a visa that other foreign nationals are subjected to. However, there are some steps that they must take to secure their dependent visa status. The visa for Canadians is referred to as the J2 visa status, and it is usually gotten within a very short time.
The following are the processes to follow for qualified Canadians to secure the J2 visa status.
- Sponsor issued Form DS-2019. The sponsor must issue a separate Form DS-2019 to each dependent of the J1 visa holder seeking a J2 Visa Status. The J1 visa holder may sign the form of the dependant that is under the age of 14years
- SEVIS enrolment. The law requires that the J2 visa holders be enrolled into the Students tracking system of the United States Immigration Services and the United States Border Protection Service. The dependents are not required to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee.
- Health Insurance. J2 visa applicants are required to have a health insurance policy before applying for the visa. In certain cases, the sponsor may extend the health insurance coverage on the J1 visa holder to a J2 holder, but such must have one before qualifying.
- Financial Capacity. The applicant must show that they have the financial capacity to take care of themselves while they are in the United States.
- Non-immigrant Intent. Dependants must show very clearly that they do not seek to immigrate to the United States and have enough reasons to return to their home state after the duration of their J2 visa expires.
- Proof of dependent status. The spouse can prove that they are the dependent of the J1 holder through the marriage certificate or birth certificate, in the case of spouse or child, respectively.
- Passport. The applicant for a J2 Visa is expected to have a valid Canadian Passport. The passport should also be valid for not less than 12 months from the application date.
- Presentation of documents at the border. The dependant is expected to present all of these documents at the border if the entry is on land via the Canada/US border. Where the dependant comes in via the airport, the documents must be presented to the customs officer on the ground. The officer, in either case, is expected to stamp the passport of the applicant.
- Form I-94. If the dependent arrives at the land border, they will be required to fill this form before they can secure entry into the United States.
What can a dependent do while staying in the United States on a J2 Visa?
- Travel – The dependent is allowed to take a foreign trip to any place in the world from the United States on a J2 Visa. The J2 visa holder should ensure that they carry along all their documents before they travel out of the United States, including their J2 visa stamp. They are not with the document, they may find it difficult to secure entry into the United States when they want to return.
- Driver’s License – The holders of a J2 Visa can apply for and secure a driver’s license while they are in the United States. The documents used in obtaining the J2 Visa l and the J2 visa itself will be needed by the processing office for the visa.
- Maintain a bank account – Of course, while in the states, dependents will need some financial cushion. They are not left out of the financial industry as they can open a bank account and maintain it while their J2 visa is valid.
- Work – J2 visa holders can secure employment while they are in the United States. They can seek employment after three to four months of arriving in the United States. The first step to securing employment is to become enrolled and secure the Employment Authorisation Document. They must have proven before entry that they can take care of themselves for a while. The job they can secure may either be full-time or part-time.
- Tax – J2 visa holders will be required to file taxes while they are in the United States. The requirement is especially for those that have secured some form of employment or the other.
- Study – The dependents can be enrolled in different learning institutions while their parent or spouse is on the J1 visa status.
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The J2 visa status is tied to the duration of the J1 visa holder.
The J1 visa holder fails to renew their J1 visa status; then, the J2 visa holder can not renew their status.
A holder of J2 visa status can change their visa status while they are in the United States. They can secure a work visa if their employer files the required forms for them.
Finally, where a J1 visa holder secures the green card, their dependents will also become holders of it. They can, however, also apply for a green card on their own.
The J2 Visa is for the dependents of J1 Visa holders, this includes spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21.