F-2 Dependents


Only the spouse and unmarried minor children (under age 21) who accompany the primary 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. For more information on B-1/B-2 visitor visas for other family members, refer to Family Visitors 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.

Documents Needed to Apply for an F-2 Visa

  • Valid passport
  • Photographs
  • F-2 dependent SEVIS Form I-20
  • Visa application fee
  • Visa application forms
  • Supporting documentation, including copies of the F-1 student's immigration documents, proof of student status, and financial documentation.

Change of Status to F-2

Important Information about F-2 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.

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.

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.


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 U-M's policies on volunteer work, see U-M Volunteer Guidelines.


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)].

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.