F-2 Dependent Information
Only one legal spouse and your biological or legally adopted children under the age of 21 are eligible for F-2 status. The following do NOT qualify for F-2 status:
- Any family member who is not a spouse or your child (parents, siblings, grandparents)
- Nannies, caregivers, or housekeepers
- Spouse or children who will hold their own immigration status, such as F-1 student, J-1 exchange visitor, H-1 employee, U.S. green card
- Spouse or children who were born in the U.S.
- Spouse or children who will only visit occasionally for short stays with a B visa or Visa Waiver (ESTA)
- Common law spouse - no legal marriage certificate
- Multiple spouses
- Children who will be over 21 years old shortly after they enter the U.S.
- Children who are not yet born
- Fiances, unless you will be legally married before the spouse applies for the F-2 visa at a U.S. consulate
The Center for Global Engagement can issue I-20 forms for these dependents after the F-1 student shows evidence of sufficient financial support in the amount of $6,000 per year for a spouse and $4,000 per year per child.
Newly-admitted F-1 students with dependents: Include dependent information when completing the I-20 Application.
Currently-enrolled F-1 students: Use the CGE’s F-2 Dependent Request form to provide the information the CGE needs in order to issue an I-20 for your dependent.
Dependent who is abroad: Apply for an F-2 visa using the I-20 the CGE issues in their name.
Dependent in the United States in another nonimmigrant visa statusApply to USCIS for a change of status, using the I-20 issued by the CGE and filing the I-539 USCIS form along with appropriate supporting documents and fee. (Talk to a CGE advisor or an immigration attorney before submitting an application to USCIS.)
Other visa option: The B-2 visitor status is an option for short visits by a dependent who does not intend to remain in the U.S. with the F-1 student for an extended period of time and who does not intend to enroll in school.
- May not be employed in the U.S. while in F-2 status
- May attend K-12 schools
- May enroll in university courses on a part-time basis
- Need a valid travel signature from a CGE international student advisor on their I-20 when traveling abroad
- Are only maintaining their status while the F-1 student is maintaining his/her status
J-1 Exchange Visitors
J-2 Dependent Information
Spouses and children of those in J-1 Student category status are permitted to apply for J-2 dependent status. Depending upon your family's circumstances and plans, this may be the best status, but B-2 visitor status is also an option for short visits, if the dependent will not spend the majority of their time in the U.S. When making such decisions, the following details associated with the J-2 status should be considered.
- J-2 dependents of those in the College/University Student category of the J-1 are subject to a one year bar on participation as a research scholar (prohibiting immediate change from a J-2 dependent status to J-1 Research Scholar or Professor status for post-doctoral research, visiting researcher, or adjunct teaching position);
- J-2 dependents are subject to the two-year residence requirement, or 212(e), if their J-1 spouse is subject (this affects any change of status inside the U.S., and any application for H status, L status, or permanent residency);
- J-2 dependents must be continuously insured for injuries or illness as described on page two of the DS-2019 form for the entire duration of the J-1 program, including time spent outside the U.S.;
- J-2 dependent status and all benefits of that status end when the J-1 is academically dismissed, graduates without pursuing post-completion training, or violates their J-1 visa status, resulting in termination;
- J-2 dependent status immediately ends, with no grace period, if a dependent child turns 21, if the J-1 and J-2 divorce, or if the J-1 returns home permanently;
- J-2 dependents may request authorization to work in the U.S. by applying to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and may work anywhere for any number of hours, but authorization typically takes 90 days to obtain, during which time they cannot work;
- J-2 dependents must have work authorization first before engaging in ANY type of work, including child care for others, cleaning, driving, independent selling or marketing, research, or academic assistantships, or they risk termination of their status;
- J-2 dependents who are employed must apply to USCIS for an extension of their authorization for employment (EAD) at least 3 months before it expires, in order to avoid a gap in authorization which would require them to quit work while awaiting the continued authorization;
- J-1 and J-2 program participants have a 30 day grace period beyond the ending of the J-1 student’s graduation or completion of academic training for making travel arrangements, packing belongings, and transiting but work is not permitted during that period;
- J-2 dependents cannot stay in the U.S. after the J-1 has ended their program and exited the U.S.;
- J-2 dependents may study in a degree or non-degree program of study in the U.S.;
- In order to travel outside the U.S., a travel signature is needed on the DS-2019 form of each person traveling, and a valid visa and passport is required for re-entry to the U.S;
- Dependents must report email address changes to the Center for Global Engagement for update of their government immigration record;
- Dependents are expected to live with their J-1 spouse or parent; and
- J-2 status must be terminated for unauthorized employment, criminal activity, violation of J program rules, willful violation or misrepresentation of insurance coverage requirements.
If you, at any time, have questions about the dependent immigration status, and other options for work, travel, study, or other personal or professional needs or concerns, please contact the immigration sponsor listed in box 2 of your DS-2019 form.
The USCIS form that J-2 dependents use to apply for work authorization is at https://www.uscis.gov/i-765. It is not necessary to obtain sponsor approval in this process.
If Florida State University is listed as the program sponsor in box 2 of your DS-2019 form, please use the Application to Invite Dependents of J-2 Exchange Visitors to the United States, submitting the dependent’s documentation of insurance starting from the request submission date through at least one semester and any documentation of additional funding that may be required for your dependent’s support. Only spouses and children are eligible for J-2 status. If another sponsor is listed in box 2 of your DS-2019 form, contact them for their procedures for requesting a J-2 DS-2019 form.
Parents, siblings, and other family members who are not your spouse or child are not eligible for the J-2 status, and no CGE permission or form is required to invite them.