International Students in F-1 status can request their legal spouse and unmarried minor children to accompany the student to the United States or follow to join the student at a later date.

The dependent must meet the guidelines necessary as per USCIS regulations to be considered a legal dependent in F-2 status.

Bringing Dependents to the U.S. – Study in the States

Requirements for F-2 Status

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

  • The F-2 dependent is the legal spouse (as evidenced by a valid marriage certificate) or minor child (as evidenced by a valid birth certificate) of the F-1 principal;
  • The F-2 dependent has sufficient funds to cover their expenses, or that other arrangements have been made to provide for such expenses once in the United States;
  • The F-2 dependent spouse or child will be accompanying or following to join the F-1 student
  • The F-2 dependent intends to leave the United States upon the termination of the status of the principal F-1 student

Visa and Status Related Guidance

Below include the visa and status related limitations for F-2 dependents:

  • The F-2 dependent will be in legal immigration status as long as the F-1 primary student is in valid F-1 status, throughout their program of study and any authorized period of optional practical training after completion.
  • The F-2 dependant may depart and re-enter the United States with proper documentation.
  • The F-2 dependent is not eligible to work.
  • The F-2 dependant is not eligible for a Social Security number.
  • F-2 dependents can engage in study at an SEVP-certified school in the United States as long as they are enrolled in less than a full course of study. Read more about this in the Adjustments to Designated School Official Limits Frequently Asked Questions.
  • The F-2 dependant should obtain an updated Form I-20 from the DSO if any information changes.
  • The F-2 dependant may file for a change of status (via Form I-539, “Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status”) to F-1 status if the adult dependent wants to study full-time.

Requesting a Dependant I-20 Request

In order to request a dependent Form I-20 for your accompanying family members, you must arrange all required documents necessary and complete the “Add New Dependant” Request located in the International Services Portal.

The following documents are required for the dependent  I-20 request:

  1. Request for I-20 with Dependent Information Indicated
  2. Dependent Request for I-20
  3. Photocopy of Dependant Passport Information Page
  4. Proof of Dependant Relationship (Dependant Spouse: Official English Translation of Valid and Legal Marriage Certificate / License) (Dependent Child: Official Certificate of Birth)
  5. Dependant Affidavit of Support Form (Dependant Spouse: Financial evidence of $10,000) (Dependant Child: Financial evidence of $5,000)
  6. Official Bank Statement for financial sponsor (The bank statement must be valid within 6 months of the I-20 request, The name on the bank statement must be in English, and must match the name of the sponsor indicated on the affidavit of support or certificate of finances.  The account must indicate liquid funds, i.e. withdrawable)
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