J2 Dependents

The maximum number of dependents allowed by CHF is three:
(1) spouse and 2 children or
(2) 3 children.

The teacher is not allowed four dependents.

All children must be school age.  The minimum age depends upon the youngest grade level offered by the school or by easily accessible public schools in the neighborhood.  Most public schools offer Kindergarten at age 5 in public schools.

CHF does not sponsor teachers who have two or more toddlers (2 children aged 6 or under).

For children younger than six, parents need to devote too much energy to successfully fulfill the objectives of the J-1 visa, an exchange visa – not a work visa.  The purpose of the exchange visa is to live and work in the US on a temporary basis, to integrate with American culture, and to improve English language skills.  And, at the end of the 3-5 year term, to return to their home countries and share what they have learned in the US.  Teachers need time and energy to make the numerous adjustments and accommodations necessary to overcome Culture Shock and to feel comfortable living in America, which is very difficult to attain when the needs of very young children must naturally take precedence.

If you wish to bring a large family, or very young children, we recommend that you apply for a work visa, not an exchange visa.  Either your school or an immigration lawyer can recommend what other visa type would work.  In that case, you will probably need to allow $7,000-$10,000 for child care, or for each additional child in a family.  Some private schools might be in a position to provide these services, but most public schools do not.

CHF does not guarantee sponsorship of J-2 visas for dependent relatives nor work permits for spouses.  Accepting a teacher in J-1 visa status does not automatically guarantee sponsorship of all immediate family members, depending upon circumstances.

In some areas of the United States, work permits for spouses have been reported to take from 9-12 months.  CHF has been informed that in Massachusetts in 2021, spouses were able to obtain work permit approval in only two months.  The time frame may differ drastically depending upon what region of the country you are working in.

You might try referring to this website on processing times for a work permit:  https://egov.uscis.gov/processing-times/

Please check with the school in the state where you plan to teach to find out if they can estimate how long it will take in their particular area.  Or you can try checking the above website for the processing center in your area of the country.  If it takes from 9-12 months, the spouse could accompany you to the US, apply for the work permit, return to the home country where s/he can work, then come back after (and if) the work permit is approved in 9-12 months.
In recent years, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) sometimes issues EAD (Employment Authorization Documents) only for a 2-year period, and the waiting time to receive approval has lengthened from 6 to as long as 9-12 months since the Covid epidemic and the shutdown or reduction in staff in many USCIS offices   Form I-765 link:

When requesting a work permit, the dependent spouse must explain why the income is not needed to support the family, only for the dependent’s enhancement or to improve the family’s overall standard of living.  The time frame to receive approval of a work permit can be from 3-9 months, depending upon the region of the country where the relevant USCIS Service Center is located and only after the spouse has already arrived in the US in J-2 status.

If a J-2 visa holder is in correct status, s/he may apply for a work permit (EAD) only after arriving in the U.S. in order to apply for a social security number.  Form I-765 may be downloaded, fee paid by credit card and emailed directly to the Internal Revenue service.  Complete interactive Form EI-765 and submit it online:  www.uscis.gov/i-765