International students in F-1 status may bring dependents (a spouse of any age or child under the age of 21) to the USA in F-2 dependent status. The legal status of your dependent(s) in the US is entirely contingent upon you maintaining your immigration status in the US. If you fall out of status, your dependent(s) will also fall out of status.
The following documents will be needed to add your dependent to your SEVIS record. Please contact the Office of International Education for information about making the request.
F-2 dependent spouses are not allowed to study full-time in a degree program. F-2 spouses may take non-academic, avocational courses during their course of stay in the United States. They may also study part-time in a degree program. F-2 dependent children may attend elementary, middle, and secondary school.
Federal immigration regulations and labor laws prohibit F-2 dependents to take any form of paid employment. There are no exceptions to this regulation. F-2 dependents may volunteer in the community as long as they do not receive any compensation (free rent, a stipend, etc.).
F-2 dependents seeking to re-enter the USA must carry with them the same immigration documents as an F-1 primary degree holder traveling outside of the USA. You can read more in Travel and Re-Entry to the U.S.
Healthcare in the U.S. is very expensive without insurance. All F-2 dependents should have appropriate U.S. health insurance before arriving in the U.S.