F-2 Dependents

An F-1 student in valid status may request that a spouse and/or children come to the U.S. as F-2 dependents.

F-2 Status


  • F-2 dependents are limited to spouses and children; no extended family or servants.
  • F-2 dependents may not lawfully work in the U.S.
  • An F-2’s status is dependent on the F-1. If the F-1 loses status or leaves the U.S. permanently, the F-2 status also ends.
  • F-2 dependents are not eligible for Social Security Numbers (SSNs).
  • F-2 dependents may depart and re-enter the United States with proper documentation.

F-2 Spouses

  • F-2 spouses may study incidental to status, as well as less than full time in a degree seeking program.
  • U.S. Embassies and Consulates will accept visa applications for same sex spouses just as they do for opposite sex spouses.

F-2 Children

  • F-2 children are allowed to attend U.S. public schools (Kindergarten-12th grade) if under the age of 21.
  • F-2 children lose their F-2 status once they marry or reach 21 years of age. If the F-2 child wants to remain in the U.S., he or she should apply for an independent status prior to the end of the F-2 status.

Requesting an F-2 I-20

You may request ISSO to add, or maintain your F-2 dependent(s) on your F-1 SEVIS record. Submit:

Provide your family members with the following, for their use at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate visa appointment:

  • F-2 I-20s
  • F-2 invitation letter (optional)
  • Copies of the F-1 I-20
  • Marriage or birth certificates. (Note: these are not required by the ISSO, but will be required by the visa officer)
  • F-2 dependents are not required to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee

If approved for the visa, the F-2 dependents may join the F-1 student for part or all of the F-1’s stay (with exception of adult F-2 children mentioned above).

For more information regarding specific application documents, please contact an international student advisor.

Removing F-2 Dependents

You may request to have your F-2 dependent(s) removed from your F-2 record.


Additional Resources