The spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 of an F-1 student are eligible for F-2 status, and may stay in the US as long as the primary student remains in legal F1 status.
Travel and Re-entry
F-2 dependents are not required to travel with the primary F-1. However, the F-2 dependent must carry the following documents required for re-entry to the U.S.:
- Valid Passport (valid for at least six months beyond the date of the re-entry to the U.S.).
- Valid F-2 visa in passport (except dependents from Canada).
- F-2 dependent I-20 with a valid travel signature from OIS on page 3 (signatures are valid for six months).
- Copies of the most current immigration documents (I-20, passport, F-1 visa, I-94 Arrival/Departure record) of the primary F-1 (if traveling separately).
- If the primary F-1 is on post-completion OPT, F-2 dependents should carry copies of the F-1’s OPT I-20, EAD card and job offer letter.
F-2 dependents are able to remain in the U.S. without the F-1 as long as the F-1 maintains status and will return to the U.S. after a temporary absence using the same SEVIS ID number.
F-2 dependents who need a travel signature on their I-20 should submit the I-20 travel signature request form along with the original I-20. The I-20 will be ready for pick-up in four business days.
Employment & Social Security Number
F-2 dependents are not eligible to work in the U.S. They also are not eligible to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN).
Studying in the U.S.
F-2 spouses are NOT eligible to pursue a course of study in the U.S. They are eligible to enroll in avocational or recreational courses but not in any courses applicable to a degree.
F-2 minor children are eligible to enroll in full-time studies in elementary or secondary schools. For information about enrolling your child in a public elementary or secondary school, contact the local school district.