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F2 Visa: Dependents of F1 Visa Holders

If you hold F1 Student Visa, you can apply for a F2 Dependent Visa to bring your family in the U.S. with you.

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    What is the F2 Dependent Visa?

    The F2 Visa is a non-immigrant temporary permit for the immediate family of F1 Student Visa holders.

    If you are an international student enrolled at a U.S. educational institution, your children and spouse can join you in the country. Conveniently, you can file your petition together and enter the U.S. at the same time.

    The F2 Dependent Visa grants your family the right to reside in the U.S. However, they cannot take up paid employment nor pursue education. Nevertheless, children may engage in full time elementary or secondary school. Adult dependents are only allowed to engage in non-vocational or recreative courses of study.

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    What is the F2 Dependent Visa?

    The F2 Dependent Visa is suitable for eligible immediate relatives of F1 Visa holders. This category includes the following family members:

    • Dependent spouses (wives and husbands)
    • Unmarried children under the age of 21 who are not living an independent life

    Eligible applicants can either file their petition together with the main F1 Visa form or join the alien student in the U.S. at a later time.

    What is the F-2 Visa application process?

    Before you can apply for an F2 Dependent Visa, the USCIS must approve the main F Visa. After that, you can submit a Form I-20A-B (Certificate of Eligibility for Non-immigrant Student Status).

    You can also apply at a U.S. consulate by filling in a Form DS-160 (Non-immigrant Visa Application).

    If you are already in the U.S. on a different permit, you can still change your immigration status to an F2 Visa.

    How do I apply for an F2 Visa?

    The first step to apply for an F-2 Dependent Visa is completing Form I-20A-B (Certificate of eligibility for Non-immigrant Student Status). If you are submitting your petition from a U.S. Consulate, you must also file in Form DS-160 (Non-immigrant Visa Application). Your application bundle must include all of your supporting documents and your valid passport.

    If you are applying as a dependent, don’t forget to attach a copy of your marriage or birth certificate.

    Can I get an F2 Visa renewal?

    Both the F1 and F2 visas are non-immigrant permits admitted for “duration of stay”. This means that when the course of study reaches its end, the visa holder must leave the U.S.

    As long as the applicant meets the set requirements, the F1 Visa status can be renewed. As a general rule, F2 Visa holders can stay in the U.S. for a period of time up to the expiration date printed on the F1 permit.

    What are the required F2 Visa documents?

    You will need to provide the following F2 Visa documents to support your application:

    • A copy of your marriage certificate (for dependent spouses)
    • A copy of your birth certificate or adoption documents (for dependents children)
    • Evidence of sufficient funds to support your family while you are staying in the U.S.
    • Proof that you are going back home when the F1 student’s education is completed. This may be a flight ticket for a destination that is not part of the U.S. territories, or any evidence of your strong ties with your home country

    Can I change my status from an F2 Visa to a Green Card?

    The F2 Dependent Visa is a nonimmigrant permit, meaning that it cannot lead to obtaining a Green Card. However, you can apply for a change of status while in the U.S. on this visa.

    While you can find an U.S.-based sponsor to change your status, you cannot seek full-time employment or education until you get a different permit.

    As long as you do not violate the terms of your visa, you should be able to change your immigrant status without leaving the U.S.

    If you decide to travel abroad before you receive your new visa and after your F2 permit expiration date, you may not be able to re-enter the country.

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              Frequently Asked Questions

              The F2 Visa status does not allow you to work in the U.S.

              In other words, you and your family must be able to sustain yourself with your own funds, and you cannot seek employment while in the country.

              If you still wish to engage in a part- or full-time job in the U.S., you must apply to change your immigrant status. In this case, you must first meet the requirements for any Work Visa, such as the H1B Visa for specialty occupation.

              If you wish to change your status, you will need to find a U.S.-based sponsor. Subsequently, your employer must file a petition on your behalf, and you will be ready to submit your application form.

              Whilst your spouse may not be allowed to engage in full time study, your children may only engage in full time elementary or secondary school. On the other hand, your partner can apply for engaging in a course of study which is avocational or recreational in nature.

              No, there are no travel restrictions for those who hold a F-2 Visa. You can travel outside the U.S. as many times as you wish to, provided that you maintain valid immigration status.


              Do not forget that the details of your relatives must be listed on your Form I-20. Since your school is responsible for your status in the U.S., both you and your family must be registered in SEVIS. The Student and Exchange Visitor System is a database used by the Department of Homeland Security to record information about foreign students.

              At IAS, we understand the importance of pursuing your education abroad. We are experienced in helping international students obtain their visa to get the best education possible. Likewise, we want to help their family enter the U.S.

              For this reason, we provide expert advice service for F1 Visa applicants and their F2 dependents. As a part of our dedicated F2 Visa application package, one of our best immigration lawyers will handle every part of your case. This includes:

              • Confirming that you and your family are eligible for an F Visa;
              • Ensuring you have sufficient documentation to support your F2 application;
              • Contacting your SEVIS sponsor and liaising with it;
              • Corresponding with the USCIS until your application is complete;
              • Liaising with your family living abroad at any time that is most convenient for you.

              To learn more about our services, get in touch today with our staff. You can call us on +1844 290 6321 or use our online contact form.