family travel

If you have family members who want to visit or accompany you during your J-1 exchange program, there are several immigration options depending on their length of stay, if they want to work in the US, and their country of citizenship. If you are unsure which option is appropriate for your family member, consult OGS Scholar Services.

Immigration Option


Length of Stay

Can they work

in the US?

J-2 Dependent

(your spouse or

unmarried child under 21)

Same as your J-1 program

Yes, with employment

authorization from


B-2 Tourist Visa

Up to 6 months


Visa Waiver Program

(list of eligible countries)

Up to 90 days


B-2 Tourist Visa

Your family member will need to apply for a B-2 tourist visa at a consular office outside of the US.

Visa Waiver Program

The Visa Waiver Program requires Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) registration and fee payment.

J-2 Dependents

Adding a J-2 Dependent

If you would like a member of your immediate family (spouse or unmarried child under the age of 21) to join you in the US as a J-2 dependent, they will need a DS-2019. Please contact your academic department’s administrator to begin the process of obtaining a DS-2019 for your dependent.

Maintaining J-2 status

The J-2 status of any family member(s) is dependent upon the status of you, the J-1 exchange visitor. You may not exit the United States and leave the dependent(s) alone in the country for extended periods of time, nor may they remain in the United States after completion or cancellation of your program.

J-2 dependents must also maintain adequate health insurance.


J-2 dependents should follow the same travel instructions and guidelines as J-1 exchange visitors. Please make sure your dependent’s DS-2019 has a valid travel signature. If your dependent needs a travel signature, please stop by Scholar Services.

Employment Authorization

J-2 dependents are eligible to apply for work permission in the United States, so long as the income is not needed to support you, the J-1. For more information and instructions for how to apply, please click here.

Study, Research, or Volunteer

J-2 dependent children are permitted to engage in study, including part time study, at any elementary or seconardy school (i.e. kindergarten through twelth grade). All J-2 dependents may engage in study that is avocational or recreational in nature, including study on a fulltime basis. They may also engage in research or volunteer during part or all of your J-1 exchange program. J-2 dependents must have work authorization in order to be paid for any such activity.

Schools and Child Care 

Consult the Office of Faculty Resources for information and resources for families, including finding the right child care.

NYU Spouse and Partner Programs 

Scholar Services offers several programs for all spouses and partners of the NYU international community.

  • International Spouse and Partner English Program (ISEP): Offered each semester, ISEP provides non-credit instruction with a focus on conversational English and American culture.
  • International Spouse and Partner Group (ISG): ISG is an informal social group run by OGS Scholar Services that allows international spouses and partners to meet and explore the city together. The group is free and meets weekly.
  • International Spouses and Partners Welcome Breakfast: Each fall, OGS hosts a welcome breakfast for all international spouses and partners (and their families). Speakers from the university offer information on topics such as childcare, volunteering, continuing education, and more. This is a great opportunity to meet fellow international spouses and partners.

Learn more or enroll in the OGS Spouse and Partner Programs!