International Student Services

J-1 to J-2 - Change of Nonimmigrant Status

Contact International Student Services (ISS) as soon as you know you must obtain J-2 status in order to discuss your options. Generally J-1 and J-2 Exchange Visitors who are subject to the two-year home-country residence requirement are prohibited from changing status within the U.S., except to A or G status. It may be necessary to return home and apply for the new visa type there.

Instructions

  1. Obtain a DS-2019 from the J-1's program sponsor.
    If this is UW, review the instructions for how to request a dependent DS-2019.
  2. Review your options for obtaining J-2 status. Decide which option to use: "Travel and Reentry" or "Change Status in the U.S."
  3. Prepare the required documents and follow next steps for obtaining J-2 status (details below).

Option 1: Travel and Reentry

Review the ISS Visas page. Plan your travel and J-2 visa appointment accordingly.

Option 2: Change of Status in the U.S.

Reminder: J-1 Exchange Visitors who are subject to the two-year home-country residence requirement are generally prohibited from changing status within the U.S., except to A or G status. It may be necessary to use the "Travel and Reentry" option to obtain J-2 status.

If eligible, submit your application to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) by mail.
(The online USCIS ELIS application option is no longer available).

Mail the following documents to the USCIS Lockbox.

  • Form I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status
  • USCIS filing fee (check or money order payable to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security”) 
  • Original I-94 card or photocopy of admission stamp and paper printout of I-94 record
  • Photocopy of the visa page and identification page in your passport
  • Photocopy of your DS-2019 (front and back)
  • Photocopies of your spouse's DS-2019 and I-94 card (front and back)
  • Photocopy of signed DS-2019 listing you as the dependent of the J-1
  • Photocopy of proof of family relationship to the J-1 (for example, marriage certificate)
  • Evidence of financial support
  • Detailed letter requesting and explaining the need to change status

Note

J-1 and J-2 Exchange Visitors who are subject to the two-year home-country residence requirement are prohibited from changing status within the U.S., except to A or G status.