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F-2 Dependents

Only the spouse and unmarried minor children (under age 21) who accompany the primary F-1 visa holder to the U.S. may receive F-2 dependent status. Their eligibility to stay legally in the U.S., as well as to extend their stay, is contingent upon the primary visa holder maintaining his/her legal status and extending his/her program in a timely manner.

All other family members must apply for a B-1 or B-2 visitor's visa to gain entry to the U.S. 

F-2 Dependents
The spouse and unmarried minor children (under age 21) of the F-1 student may be admitted into the U.S. in F-2 classification, if each dependent presents a SEVIS Form I-20 issued in his or her own name and an F-2 visa.

The F-2 dependent SEVIS record and Form I-20 is managed by the institution that issues the F-1 student's SEVIS record and I-20.

Documents Needed to Apply for an F-2 Visa at a US Embassy or Consulate
  1. Valid passport
  2. Photographs
  3. F-2 dependent SEVIS Form I-20
  4. Visa application fee
  5. Visa application forms (
  6. Supporting documentation, including copies of the F-1 student's immigration documents, proof of student status, and financial documentation

Important Information about F-2 Status
Since F-2 status is tied to the F-1 status, once the F-1 student has completed his or her studies and has left the U.S., the F-2 dependents must leave as well. At the end of the F-1 program, there is a 60-day grace period during which the F-1/F-2 may stay in the U.S. Once the F-1 primary leaves the U.S., the F-2 dependents must leave as well.

Dependent children over age 21 are no longer eligible to F-2 status and will need to change to another status such as F-1 (for full time students) if they wish to stay in the U.S.

The F-2 spouse and children of an F-1 student may not accept employment in the U.S. However, they may do volunteer work as long as there is no compensation of any kind and the F-2 dependent is doing a job usually done by volunteers. For more information about the type of acceptable volunteer work, see the Volunteering information page.

F-2 dependents of F-1 students in the United States may study part time at the postsecondary level in any certified program at an SEVP-certified school, as long as the study does not amount to what regulations define as full time for an F-1 student [defined in 8 CFR 214.2(f)(6)].

At UT, F-2 dependents may study only part-time:
  • Undergraduate study: 11 credits or less
  • Graduate study: 7 credits or less

F-2 dependents may also study full time in avocational or recreational studies, such as hobbies.

F-2 minor children must comply with compulsory education requirements in attending kindergarten through 12th grade.

However, an F-2 dependent who wants to enroll full time in a course of postsecondary academic or vocational study must apply for and obtain approval to change nonimmigrant status to F-1, J-1, or M-1 before beginning their full-time study. Studying full-time before the change of status to F-1 is complete would be grounds for SEVIS termination for "Violation of Change of Status Requirements".

Contact the International Student Advisors for more information.