Adding a Dependent

Spouses and children of F-1 students are allowed to stay in the United States in F-2 status for the duration of the F-1 student’s studies, including any post-completion OPT.

Who Qualifies as a Dependent?

Dependents can be:

  • Legally married spouses
  • Children

Dependents cannot be:

  • Unmarried partners or significant others
  • Parents, siblings, cousins, or any other relatives
  • Friends
  • Anyone other than legally married spouses and children

What is a ‘Spouse’?

Under immigration law, a spouse is someone who is legally married under the laws of a specific country or state in the U.S. When your dependent applies for a visa, the embassy will require proof of the legal marriage.

partner is a person who is not married but is in a relationship that might not be recognized legally. Legally recognized partnerships include civil unions, registered or civil partnerships, and stable unions. Such relationships are not considered marriages under U.S. immigration law, and are not eligible for dependant status.

Adding a Dependent

F-1 students may request an F-2 I-20 for their non-U.S. citizen spouse or unmarried children under the age of 21. Your dependents must provide these documents during their visa interview or in their change of status applications.

To add a dependent to your program:

  1. Log into iGlobal and on the left-hand side select ISSP F1/J1 Requests.
  2. Choose Dependent Information. 
  3. Proceed to complete the required steps. Please allow ISSP 7-10 business days to process your request.

Working as a Dependent: F-2 dependents are NOT eligible to work in the U.S.

Studying as a Dependent: F-2 dependents may NOT study full-time in a degree program, but can enroll part-time. F-2 dependents are allowed to engage in full-time studies that are merely vocational or recreational in nature. F-2 children in primary and secondary schools may be eligible to study part-time or full-time in the U.S. 

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Last modified: Nov 21, 2023