The spouse and any unmarried children under the age of 21 of a student in F-1 status are eligible for F-2 status. Students may submit the following documents to the ISO to request that F-2 Forms I-20 be issued for a spouse and/or children:
If dependents will assume F-2 status, the F-1 student must document additional annual funds in the amount's outlined in the
- Graduate Student Financial Guarantee Form (MS Word), and
- must also complete an I-20 Request Form (MS Word).
Individuals in F-2 status are not eligible to pursue post-secondary education and are not eligible to engage in any type of employment. If there is any question about whether or not a particular endeavor qualifies as employment, students should inform the ISO before their spouse or child engages in it. If there is any remuneration for services, this would almost certainly constitute unlawful employment. Unlawful employment can also be unpaid work.
The F-2 status of spouses and children depends upon the student's F-1 status. If the student fails to maintain F-1 status, the F-2 spouse and children lose their status as well. F-2 spouses and children must also ensure that they maintain a valid passport, valid Form I-20 and valid Form I-94.
Dependents eligible for F-2 status may apply for an F-2 visa stamp with their F-1 spouse or parent. Most consulates will schedule F-1 and F-2 visa applications at the same time, but it is important that consulates are informed that there will be accompanying F-2 applicants at the time that a visa application interview is scheduled.
Dependents residing in the U.S. in a qualifying status may also be eligible to change status in the U.S., and, if doing so, should submit a separate Form I-539 with their I-20s. The F-2 Form I-539 should indicate that it is based on the F-1 student's change of status application. Both the F-1 I-539 and the I-539 for all dependents should be submitted to the USCIS in the same package. All dependents may apply to change to F-2 status on the same Form I-539.