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F-2 Dependent Spouse & Child(ren)

Some F-1 students wish to bring their spouse and/or children to the U.S. Learn about F-2 status and what you need to do to obtain F-2 I-20's for your dependents.

Overview

Only the spouse and unmarried minor children (under age 21) of an F-1 visa holder may apply for F-2 dependent status. Their eligibility to stay legally in the U.S. is dependent upon the F-1 maintaining their legal status.

All other family members must apply for a B-1 or B-2 visitor's visa to gain entry to the U.S.

Important Information about F-2 Status

Once the F-1 student has completed their studies and has left the U.S., the F-2 dependents must also leave.

Dependent children over age 21 are not eligible for F-2 status and will need to change to another status such as F-1 (for full time students) if they wish to stay in the U.S.

At the end of the F-1 program, there is a 60-day grace period during which the F-1/F-2 may stay in the U.S. Once the F-1 leaves the U.S., the F-2 dependents must leave as well.

Report any changes to VIS
If your dependent departs the U.S. permanently or changes their immigration status, you must report their departure/change of status to VIS. To do so, submit the Removal of F-2 Dependent request form in accessVIS

Employment

The F-2 spouse and children of an F-1 student may not accept employment in the U.S.

Study

F-2 dependents of F-1 students in the United States may study part time at the postsecondary level in any certified program at an SEVP-certified school, as long as the study does not amount to what regulations define as full time for an F-1 student [defined in 8 CFR 214.2(f)(6)]. At SBU, F-2 dependents undergraduate level are limited to a maximum of 11 credits, and those at the graduate level are limited to a max of 8 credits.

F-2 minor children must comply with compulsory education requirements (Kindergarten through 12th grade). For information about enrolling your child in a public elementary or secondary school, contact the local school district .

An F-2 dependent who wants to enroll full time in a course of postsecondary academic or vocational study must apply for and obtain approval to change nonimmigrant status to F-1, J-1 or or another status allowing full-time study before beginning their full-time study.


Adding an F-2 Dependent

The spouse and unmarried minor children (under age 21) of the F-1 student may be admitted into the U.S. in F-2 classification, if each dependent presents a SEVIS Form I-20 issued in his or her own name and an F-2 visa.

In order to obtain I-20's for your dependents, you will need to sumbit the Adding an F-2 Dependent(s) request in accessVIS. We will then create a new I-20 for you (indicating that you have dependents) and F-2 I-20's for your dependents.

To request an F-2 I-20 you will need:
  • Copy of the biographic page of each dependent’s passport.
  • Financial documents. These documents must show that you can financially support yourself and your dependents in the U.S. - verification of an additional $9,000 per year for your spouse and an additional $5,000 per year for each child is required. Please review our estimated expenses for F-1 students page.
    • VIS will calculate the total amount of financial support that you must document for adding dependents depending upon the number of credit you need to complete your program and the number of months / semesters you require to finish your program.
    • If you're in F/J status after graduation and no longer enrolled in courses you only need to show funds to cover the estimated living expenses for yourself and any dependents. In most cases you will need estimated living expenses for 1 year.
  • Proof of full-time course registration for enrolled students. You must be registered full-time or have an approved Reduced Course Load from VIS to be eligible to add a dependent.
Application Process
  • Log in to accessVIS by clicking the “LOGIN” button. Enter your NetID and Password.
  • Click on “F-1 Student Services” and then “Adding F-2 Dependent(s)”.
  • There are three required eforms in this group. Within the eform titled "Adding an F-2 Dependent" you will be required to upload your dependent's biographic page of their passport and answer questions related to your dependent's immigration status. The third eform titled "Proof of Financial Eligiblity" asks you to upload your financial documents.
  • Once you have submitted all three forms, an International Student Advisor will review your request. Provided we have complete documentation, you will be issued a new I-20 indicating that you have dependents and F-2 I-20's for your dependents. Processing time is 5-7 business days from the date you submitted.
  • Once your dependent receives an F-2 visa and enters the U.S. as an F-2 or receives the change-of-status approval notice by mail you must provide copies of their immigration documents to VIS by submitting the Immigration Intake for F-2 Dependents in accessVIS.
Change of Status to F-2

If your spouse or child is already inside the U.S. in another non-immigrant status, there are two ways to change ones status to F-2:

  1. One way is to travel home or outside the U.S., apply for an F-2 visa at a U.S. Consulate and re-enter the U.S. in the new status.
  2. The other way is to submit a change-of-status application to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) while remaining in the U.S. If your dependent will change their immigration status in the U.S., then you and your dependent should be sure you understand the Change of Status process. If after reviewing the information you would like to meet with an International Student Advisor to discuss the change-of-status application process please contact our office to schedule an appointment.

Don't forget to report your dependent's arrival
Once your dependent receives an F-2 visa and enters the U.S. as an F-2 or receives the change-of-status approval notice by mail, you must submit copies of their immigration documents (I-20, passport, F-2 visa and I-94 or change-of-status approval notice) to to VIS by submitting the Immigration Intake for F-2 Dependents in accessVIS.