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F-2 Dependents

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. 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. Arlotto Family Center for Global Engagement strongly encourages F-2s to obtain health insurance as well.

Procedures For F-2 Requests:

STEP 1: Submit the following documentation to A. Family Center for Global Engagement in Green Hall room 111

  • You can provide us information about your dependents on page 3 of the I20Guide19-20 and I20Guide19-20Grad
  • Provide us with financial documentation demonstrating funds to cover your F-2 dependent (e.g. bank statement, proof of grad assistantship, letter from employer or sponsor, etc.)
  • Provide us with passports for your dependents valid for at least 6 months after their arrival to the U.S.

Once the office adds your dependent(s) to your SEVIS record, a new  I-20 is issued to you and each of your accompanying dependents.

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 and follow the procedures for F-2 visa application.

STEP 4: When your dependent(s) arrives in Ewing, have them check in at A. Family 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:

F-2 Travel:

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 a travel signature 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.

Taking Classes

F-2 dependents can attend K-12 education without any limitation. They will need to limit their advanced degree (associates, undergraduate, graduate, etc.) studies to part-time opportunities. F-2s can change their status to F-1 in order to pursue full-time higher educaiton.


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.

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.