Bringing Dependents as F-2:
Your spouse or unmarried child/children under 21 may accompany you under F-2 dependent status while you pursue a program of study, research or teaching in the U.S.; Non-immediate family members must enter in there own non-immigrant status, most commonly as B-2 visitors. They may also come later, entering the US by themselves.
Whether you decide to bring your family members with you at the time of your initial entry or at a later time, you are required to show evidence for each dependent of adequate financial support. The Center for Global Engagement strongly encourages F-2s to obtain health insurance as well.
You must be able to show an additional amount of financial support for each F-2 dependent.
Procedures For F-2 Requests:
STEP 1: Submit the following documentation to the Center for Global Engagement in Green Hall room 111
- REQUEST FORM FOR F-1 STATUS
- Financial Documentation (e.g. bank statement, proof of grad assistantship, letter from employer or sponsor, etc.)
Once the office adds your dependent(s) to your SEVIS record, a new I-20/DS-2019 is issued to you and each of your accompanying dependent.
STEP 2: Provide your dependent(s) with the following documentation for their visa application
- New F-2(I-20) (original)
- Your new I-20 (copy)
- Your passport biographical page (copy)
- Your F-1 visa stamp (copy)
- Your I-94 card (copy of front and back side)
- Financial documentation (e.g. bank statement; proof of graduate assistantship, letter from employer or sponsor)
- Your letter of invitation.
STEP 3: Your dependent(s) should contact their local U.S. Embassy/Consular Office at http://usembassy.state.gov/ and follow the procedures for F-2 visa application.
STEP 4: When your dependent(s) arrives in Ewing, have them check in at the Center for Global Engagement and provide a copy of each dependent’s immigration documents.
Procedures for Visiting Family (B-2 Status):
If you would like to invite your parents or other immediate family members for a short visit in the U.S., your family member(s) should contact their local U.S. Embassy/Consular Office and follow the procedures for B-2 visa application:
Dependents in F-2 generally need the same documents to re-enter the U.S. as the primary F-1 student. Be sure to obtain an endorsement on the dependent I-20 in order to re-enter the U.S.
Dependents are not required to travel with the primary F-1 student. In addition, dependents may remain in the U.S. without the primary as long as the F-1 maintains their current status and will return after a temporary absence (generally 30 days or less) using the same SEVIS ID number.
F-2 spouses need to limit their studies to part-time for personal enrichment. (e.g. drawing class, language training, etc.).
If F-2 spouses plan to pursue a program of study (e.g. Master’s program in Physics), they must first change their status to F-1. They cannot start the program until their F-1 status becomes valid.
WORKING (VOLUNTEERING) IN THE U.S. / SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER
F-2 dependents are not allowed to work in the U.S. under any circumstances. Since F-2 dependents are not allowed to work in the U.S. they are also not eligible for a social security number.
However, F-1 students can obtain a Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) for F-2 dependents if it is needed for tax filing purposes. F-2 spouses and family members may also apply for Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) via Form W-7, available through the Internal Revenue Service.
F-2 dependents may volunteer if their volunteer activities do not displace a paid position.
As long as F-1 students maintain lawful status, their F-2 dependents are allowed to travel in and out of country by themselves with proper documentation.
If an F-1 student is on post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT), the F-2 dependents are advised to carry a copy of F-1 student’s OPT I-20, OPT card and a letter from OPT employer in addition to their own immigration documents.
Changing Status From F-2 to F-1
There are two ways to change status to F-1 once F-2 dependents are admitted to an educational program.
Option 1: Lawful F-2 dependents may apply for a change of status to F-1 by filing Form I-539 with USCIS while remaining in the U.S.
Option 2: F-2 dependents may obtain an F-1 visa stamp at a U.S. Embassy/Consulate Office (preferably in their home countries) and return to the U.S. as an F-1 student up to 30 days prior to the program start date.