What's on this page?
J-2 dependents are eligible to apply for employment authorization with the U.S.immigration agency (USCIS). They can apply for work authorization only after you (the J-1) has entered the U.S, and may not start to work until the approval is received. Learn more about the J-2 application for work permission.
F-2 dependents are not permitted to work in the U.S. in F-2 status.
For F-2, J-2, H-4, O-3, E-3D, and TD status:
English Language Programs
English as a Second Language programs, more commonly known as ESL programs, are widely available in the city:
These classes are held at Columbia.
These classes are held at Teachers College. This program is taught by Teachers College students who are ESL teachers in training.
This program offers eight-week courses taught by professional instructors in small class sizes. It is held at Columbia Business School's Chazen Institute for Global Business.
The libraries offer free English classes in the Summer and Fall.
Community Involvement/Volunteer Work
It’s not easy to balance the demands of academic, work, and personal lives--especially in a fast-paced city like NY. Coming from another country adds to the challenge, so see how this office can help!
Columbia University offers an array of resources to help support parents and is committed to ensuring that the needs of lactating women are met. The Breastfeeding Support Program is available for mothers at Columbia returning to work, school, or visiting the campus who wish to express milk.
Child Care and Schools
Columbia's Office of Work-/Life offers information and programs to support parents with Child Care and Schooling Needs.
supports parents at Columbia University through school placement counseling, child care referrals, a searchable database of New York City area schools, and informational resources for finding childcare and schooling.
is an extremely helpful independent guide to NYC public schools that provides practical tools to navigate the city’s school system. Under each type of school (elementary, middle, and high) there is a section called New to NYC? which is a great place for you to start.
is the largest school district in the US, serving 1.1 million students in over 1,800 schools. You can read their valuable information in 83 different languages!
Affiliated with Columbia University, Barnard College has a babysitting agency for hiring Barnard students.
is a diverse membership organization of childcare and family service providers, consumers and advocates.
provides Mandarin Immersion program for children ages 6 months to 10 years of age through play, creative activities, and exploration of their environment.
Kids in the City
You may also use the NYC public libraries. Get a library card and borrow books and DVDs--it’s free! Enjoy community programming, including lecture and film series of general interest for adults as well as English and computer classes.
To gain access to Columbia's Dodge Fitness Center, your dependent will need to provide documentation that has both your name and your spouse’s name and address on it, such as a lease or bank statement, and documents reflecting the F-2 or J-2 immigration status. See the family section of Dodge's eligibility page for more information.