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Family & Dependents


Many students wish to bring their husbands, wives, or children to the USA. Usually, the best way to bring them to the USA is by using an F-2/J-2 visa. The F-2/J-2 visa is a “dependent” visa to bring family members to the USA who will be dependent on the F-1/J-1 visa holder. Many students also want their parents to visit them in the US, which may require a B1/B2 visa. Read below for important information regarding bringing family members to the US.

Eligibility for Dependent Status

To qualify for F-2/J-2 status, a spouse or unmarried minor children (under age 21) must establish to the satisfaction of the consular officer and the immigration officer at the port of entry that:

  • He or she is the spouse (marriage license) or child (birth certificate) of the F-1/J-1 principal
  • He or she has sufficient funds to cover his/her expenses, or that other arrangements have been made to provide for such expenses once in the United States;
  • Required health insurance is adequate. (J Only)
  • He or she intends to leave the United States upon the termination of the status of the principle J-1/F-1
  • If the dependents are following to join the student, the F-1/J-1, is or will be within 30 days, enrolled in a full course of study.

How to Request an I-20/DS-2019 for Dependents

Please submit a Visa Request Form for Dependents along with a copy of the dependents’ passports to OISS. International students and scholars planning to bring family members to the United States must purchase medical insurance for them.

Can I work on an F-2 visa?

Individuals in F-2 status may not accept employment or engage in business under any circumstances

Can I study on an F-2 visa?

  1. F-2 spouses may not engage in full-time study.
  2. F-2 children may only engage in full-time study at the K-12 level.
  3. Part-time study is permitted only to the extent that it is "avocational or recreational."

If an F-2 Spouse wishes to engage in study full-time, they may not begin the full course of study until a change of status to F-1 is approved. For more information, please to schedule an appointment.

Can I work on a J-2 visa?

J-2 dependents are eligible to apply to USCIS for employment authorization so long as the employment is not for the purpose of supporting the J-1. J-2 dependents can apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from USCIS in order to be employed in the United States. The J-2 may begin employment only after receiving the EAD from USCIS.

Can I study on a J-2 visa?

Yes, you can study on a J-2 visa. There is no regulatory restriction on study for J-2 dependents

How long can I stay in the US on my F-2/J-2 visa?

Dependents in F-2/J-2 status are permitted to stay in the United States only to the extent that the F-1/J-1 is authorized to stay. F-2/J-2 dependents maintain their status through the F-1 principal maintaining his or her status. Like the F-1/J-1 students and scholars, F-2/J-2 dependents are required to keep their passports valid at least 6 months into the future.

What if my family member is not eligible for a dependent visa?

Many students want to bring non-dependent family, such as parents, cousins, aunts and uncles to the US.  These types of family members are not eligible for dependent visas, but may be able to visit you using a tourist visa.  Be aware that tourist visa applicants must show proof of their reason for travel.  If your family is coming to see you, you must have valid status in SEVIS.  If you have family coming to the US on the basis of your current F-1 or J-1 visa, you MUST check with OISS two weeks before the planned visa appointment to make sure your affairs are in order.  As with all visa appointments, OISS and the University are not responsible for decisions made by consular officers or port of entry officials.  We will do everything we can to provide you the information you need to prove your student or scholar status, but require that you make us aware in advance and that you check your status at least two weeks before your family's appointment.

Instructions for international students inviting family to visit:

For All Students:
  1. Make copy of I-20 (1st and 2nd page) or DS-2019
  2. For Undergraduate/Graduate Students:

  3. Print out your “Enrollment Verification Certificate”
    1. Log in to UDSIS
    2. Click on “Courses & Enrollment”
    3. Scroll down on left to “Enrollment Verification” and you will be directed to the National Student Clearinghouse
      • - Choose “Current Enrollment” for verification of your enrollment for the current term (or your most recent term)
      • - Choose “All Enrollment” for verification of all current and past enrollment
      • - Choose “Advanced Registration” for verification of enrollment for the upcoming term
    4. OISS can stamp with raised seal
    For ELI Students:
    1. Go to ELI Student Portal List of Student Forms to complete "Enrollment Verification" form
    2. For All Students:

    3. Optional: Student can write a personal letter to family member inviting them to visit.
    4. In addition to the documents above, family member should contact their Embassy for any additional documents needed.

Visas Resources