Dependents are defined as a spouse and minor children (under age 21) of the J-1 exchange visitor. Dependent spouses and children enter the U.S. on J-2 dependent visas. Each dependent is required to have an individual DS-2019 to obtain a J-2 visa stamp from a U.S. embassy or consulate and to enter the U.S. (Canadians are exempt from the visa requirement). For more information, refer to Dependents.
Having J-2 status does not enable a J-2 dependent to work, but it gives the person the ability to apply for permission to work from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office through an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) (Form I-766). The J-2 dependent does not have legal permission to work until the EAD is approved by USCIS. For more information, refer to J-2 Dependent Employment Authorization Document.