• Print

Spouses and Dependents

Spouses and Dependents in F-2 Status

The spouse and unmarried minor children of an F-1 student may accompany the student to the United States or follow later to join the student. Dependent family members may apply for an F-2 visa.

Eligibility for F-2 Status

To qualify for F-2 visa status, a spouse or unmarried minor (under age 21) child must establish to the satisfaction of the consular officer and the immigration officer the port of entry that:

  • He or she is the spouse (via a marriage license) or child (via a birth certificate) of the F-1 student;
  • He or she has sufficient funds to cover his/her expenses, or that other arrangements have been made to provide for such expenses once in the U.S.;
  • He or she intends to leave the United States upon the termination of the status of the F-1 student;
  • If the dependents are following to join the student, "the F-1 student is, or will be within 30 days, enrolled in a full course of study or engaged in approved practical training following completion of studies."
Dependents of an F-1 student shall each be issued an individual SEVIS Form I-20.

 

Employment

The F-2 spouse and children of an F-1 student may not under any circumstances accept employment or engage in business.

Study by F-2 Dependents

  • The F-2 child may only engage in full-time study if the study is in an elementary or secondary school (kindergarten through 12th grade).
  • Part-time study is permitted only to the extent that it is a "vocational or recreational" in nature.
  • An F-2 spouse or F-2 child desiring to engage in full-time study, must apply for and obtain a change of nonimmigrant classification to F-1, J-1, or M-1 status.
  • An F-2 spouse or F-2 child violates his or her nonimmigrant status by engaging in full-time study.

Note: F-2 visa holders who were enrolled in a full-time program of study prior to January 1, 2003 may continue study but only if they filed for a change of status before March 11, 2003.

Extension of Stay for F-2 Dependents

  • Dependents in F-2 status are permitted to stay in the U.S. only to the extent that the F-1 student is authorized to stay.
  • F-2 dependents maintain their status through the F-1 student maintaining his or her status.
  • Like F-1 students, F-2 dependents are required to keep their passports valid at least 6 months into the future.