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.

General Information

  • F-2 visas are limited to spouses and children, no extended family or servants.
  • F-2 dependents may not work or attend university in the U.S.
  • F-2 children are allowed to attend U.S. public schools (Kindergarten-12th grade).
  • An F-2’s status is dependent on the F-1. If the F-1 loses status or leaves the U.S., the F-2 status also ends.
  • 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.
  • Effective immediately, U.S. Embassies and Consulates will adjudicate visa applications for same sex spouses just as they do for opposite sex spouses. Visit Non-immigrant visas for same sex married couples and dependents for more details.


  • Request an F-2 I-20 from the ISSO (required). Meet with an international student advisor for details.
  • Request an F-2 invitation letter from the ISSO (optional).
  • 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.

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