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F-2 Dependent Spouse & Child(ren)

  • 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.

    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 dependent(s) 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

    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 VIS by submitting the Immigration Intake for F-2 Dependents in accessVIS.

  • Adding an F-2 Dependent

    Adding an F-2 Dependent as a Continuing Student

    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 their own name and an F-2 visa.

    An F-2 dependent can either be added upon the issuance of the F-1 student's original I-20, or may be added at a later date.

    Below are the instructions for adding an F-2 dependent during your program.

    Step 1: Prepare your documents
    Step 2: Login to accessVIS
    Step 3: Submit the Adding F-2 Dependents eform
    Step 4: Allow 7-10 business days for processing
    Step 5: Your dependent must acquire an F-2 visa
    Step 6: Report the arrival of your F-2 dependent
  • Change of Status to F-2

    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 one's status to F-2:

    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.


    Submit a change-of-status application to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

  • Traveling as an F-2 Dependent

    Traveling as an F-2 Dependent

    F-2 dependents are not required to travel with the primary F-1. However, the F-2 dependent must carry the following documents required for re-entry to the US:

    1. Valid passport (valid for at least 6 months beyond the date of re-entry to the US)
    2. Valid F-2 visa in passport (except for dependents from Canada)
    3. Form I-20 with a valid travel signature 
      • Valid for one year if F-1 is currently enrolled student
      • Valid for six months if F-1 is currently on approved post-completion OPT or STEM OPT Extension
    4. Copies of these F-1 primary documents:
      • I-20, passport, F-1 visa, I-94 Arrival/Departure Record
      • If F-1 is on approved post-completion OPT or STEM OPT Extension, these copies should also include the OPT I-20, EAD card, and proof of current employment or offer letter

    F-2 dependents are able to remain in the US without the F-1 as long as the F-1 maintains status and will return to the U.S. after a temporary absence using the same SEVIS ID number.

    F-2 dependents who need a travel signature on their I-20 should have their F-1 submit the Travel Signature Request for F2 Dependents in accessVIS.

  • Work & Study


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


    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.

    At SBU, F-2 dependents at the undergraduate level are limited to a maximum of 11 credits, and those at the graduate level are limited to a maximum 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 your local school district.