- Can my family accompany me to the U.S. if I am selected to teach with VIF?
- Which of my family members are eligible to accompany me to the U.S.?
- What is a J-2 Visa?
- Can my spouse legally work in the U.S. on the J-2 visa?
- My child will turn 21 while in the U.S. on a J-2 visa. What happens then?
- Can my children attend the school where I teach?
- What else should I know about bringing my family to the U.S.?
As VIF sponsors teachers on the J-1 cultural exchange visa, we also sponsor immediate family members as dependents on the J-2 visa. Family members eligible for J-2 visa sponsorship include a legal spouse and dependent children under the age of 21. The U.S. Department of State does not authorize J-2 visa sponsorship for domestic partners.
Approximately 35 percent of VIF teachers bring one or two immediate family members to the U.S. under a J-2 visa. VIF encourages applicants to consider the costs of supporting a family when they apply to the program. VIF strongly recommends that you limit the number of family members who will join you to one accompanying family member for each English-speaking, working adult. Experience has shown that this arrangement is the most successful, both personally and financially, for VIF teachers and their families.
Only legal spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 are eligible to accompany you to the U.S. on a J-2 visa. J-2 visa sponsorship is subject to VIF approval. Any other family members must obtain visitor visas. All J-2 dependents must return home within 30 days of your term's end.
Eligible dependents must apply for the J-2 visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in their country of citizenship or legal residency. A J-2 visa will allow the family member(s) to enter the U.S. as your (the J-1 visa holder) dependents. If you plan to bring your family to the U.S., please notify your Admissions Specialist, so he or she can prepare the paperwork you need.
Work opportunities for spouses vary depending on the area in which you are living. Spouses under the J-2 visa must submit a work authorization application as well as the required application fee to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) if they are planning to seek employment. This application cannot be submitted until the J-2 dependent has entered the U.S. This approval process may take as long as 90 days. If approved, the J-2 dependent can then apply for their Social Security card and consider employment in the U.S.
The J-2 visa for your child will end when the child turns 21. The child will be required to leave the country at that time.
Your children will be eligible to attend public school in the U.S. In many cases, children can attend the school where their parents teach. After accepting a position with VIF, it is important to contact the school to find out the enrollment requirements.
As a requirement of the J-1 visa, you, the VIF teacher, must have sufficient financial resources to pay for all the expenses of each accompanying family member with a J-2 visa (known as a J-2 dependent) during participation with VIF. There are significantly higher costs for each additional person you bring (spouse/children), such as insurance, food, housing, childcare and travel. One or two people can live comfortably on one teacher's salary, assuming that you don't have outstanding financial obligations at home.
Your child may be able to attend the school where you will be teaching, depending on the grade level you teach and your child's age. After accepting a position, you should contact the school district to find out its enrollment requirements. In many public school systems, the school that a child attends is determined by where they live, so you may want to consider this when choosing housing.
As a VIF teacher, you will have an opportunity to interact with many new people every day. You will have the opportunity to build a social network and become engaged in cross-cultural experiences almost immediately. If you have school-age children, they will have the same opportunity. Spouses are often the ones that have a more difficult time, especially when they do not work.