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Partner must be physically present in the U.S when applying for J-2 work permit? And general J-2 experiences!

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At the U of Chicagos website, I read that: 

''At the time that you mail the application, you must be physically present in the United States and must hold valid J-2 status, and the Exchange Visitor must hold a valid J-1 status, as shown on your I-94 Arrival/Departure record.'' 

It also says that it usually takes up to 3-4 months to process. Is it always the case then, that the partner must stay with the J1 for 4 months in the U.S without being able to work? That sounds pretty unrealistic for most situations. Is getting your partner a J-2 visa that allows that person to work something that ever happens? Anyone have any stories? 

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  • 4 weeks later...

the J2 can apply for a work permit (not a work-visa, so its employment authorization for a given period of time) - it's usually only for one  year (we got lucky and got it for 2) and you'd have to reapply (it's about 500 dollars each time). 

And yes - he/she/they have to stay with the partner being unable to work. Why is it unrealistic? Any dependent visa is really meant for the partner to 'accompany' the main visa holder. Because J is an exchange visa, the partner can also do a 'work exchange'. If the partner wants to work or get a work-visa, he/she/they should apply for their own visa. Is it dumb and outdated - yes, but that's just how most things in this country work lol. 

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