Dependents in F-2 Status
Bringing a Dependent to the U.S.
As an F-1 student, you are allowed to bring your dependents to the United States on F-2 status. Dependents are defined as your spouse and/or unmarried minor children. Your dependents may apply for their F-2 visas at the same time you apply for your F-1 visa, or they may apply for their F-2 visas at a later date. If they are granted the F-2 visa, they may enter the United States when you do, or they may enter the U.S. at a later date.
If your dependents plan to come to the U.S. later, you will need to do the following before they arrive:
- Request I-20s for them from OIP. Each of your dependents will be issued his/her own I-20. It takes OIP 5 business days to prepare these documents.
- Provide OIP with financial evidence that you are able to support your dependents while they are in the United States. In addition to providing financial verification of your education and living expenses, you will also need to provide financial verification of the following amounts:
- $5,900 for a spouse
- $4,100 for each child
- Sign your name at line number 11 on each I-20. Your dependents do not have to sign the I-20s. Mail the I-20s to your dependents so that they can apply for their F-2 visas at the U.S. embassy/consulate.
When your dependents apply for their F-2 visas, they should carry with them the following documents:
- I-20(s) issued for dependent use
- Proof of your financial capability to support them while in the U.S.
- Proof of your relationship to them, e.g., marriage certificate translated into English, proof of birth for dependent children
- Unexpired passports
If your dependents are successful in obtaining the F-2 visas, then they can enter the United States as your F-2 dependents. Upon entry to the U.S., each dependent should present his/her F-2 visa and the I-20 issued for dependent use to the immigration inspector at the airport.
Regulations Regarding F-2 Dependents
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) regulations specify that F-2 dependents are not permitted to accept employment in the U.S.
USCIS regulations specify that the F-2 spouse is not permitted to study full-time in the U.S., and that F-2 children may only study full-time in an elementary or secondary school (kindergarten through 12th grade).
F-2 spouses and children may engage in part-time study that is avocational or recreational in nature. USCIS has clarified "avocational or recreational" to mean study that is for pursuing a hobby or study that is of an occasional, casual or recreational nature. F-2 dependents must change status to F-1 if they wish to study full-time in a degree program. For more information about F-2 regulations, please contact us.