F-2 Visa Holders: F-1 Spouses and Children of an F-1 Visa Holder

Dependents (spouse and children) of F-1 students may enter the U.S. as F-2 visa holders. Their stay in the U.S. is completely dependent on that of the F-1 student who is considered the principal alien in the eyes of immigration law. If the F-1 student ends their academic program, has their legal status terminated or leaves the country for an extended vacation term, the F-2 must leave as well.

Bringing Family Members to the U.S. as F-2 Status Holders

In order to bring dependents to the U.S., the F-1 student must show evidence of financial resources sufficient to support his/her spouse and/or children. Under current federal immigration regulations, the F-1 visa holder must show a bank account with an additional $6,000 for your a spouse and $4,000 for each child. The procedure is as follows:


Spouses: F-2 dependent spouses are not allowed to participate in full-time or part-time study in a degree program, or in taking courses toward the completion of a degree program. However, they are allowed to enroll in vocational and recreational classes.

If an F-2 dependent is accepted into a full-time program of study, he or she will need to apply for a change of status to an appropriate student visa such as F-1. Please contact the International Student Coordinator for more information.

Children: F-2 children may attend elementary and secondary school.


Under current federal immigration regulations, F-2 dependents are may not allowed to work while in the U.S. They may volunteer only if the position for which they are interested has always been a volunteer position. The DHS and the Department of Labor (DOL) do not allow a dependent to volunteer for a position, and then begin to receive payment for performing the same duties once a change of immigration status is approved. It is possible for the dependent to be offered a paid position, and apply for a change of status to an appropriate visa that allows employment.

Please contact the International Student Coordinator for more information and volunteer resources.


In order to re-enter the U.S.following travel, the dependent needs to carry a valid passport and dependent visa, I-94 card, and an I-20 form signed by OIE within the last 6 to 9 months. When the F-1 student's period of post-completion OPT begins, dependents should consult with OIE regarding dependent travel.