University of Vermont

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:

  • Make an appointment with the International Student Coordinator and bring the following documents:
    • Bank statement issued in the last three months showing the necessary funds
    • I-20 form
    • Name of dependents exactly as it appears on their passports.
    • Date of birth of each dependent
  • You will receive an I-20 form for your spouse and/or children which will be used to apply for an F-2 visa.
  • Please be advised that the U.S. embassy or consulate will also require evidence of financial support. They may also have different visa application standards that you will have to meet. The amounts listed above are requirements of UVM, not of the State Department.
  • Please check your local embassy website for further instructions


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.

Last modified January 19 2011 02:31 PM

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