The Spouse and/or Children of an F-1 Student

The spouse and unmarried, minor children of F-1 holders are eligible to come to the United States through an F-2 visa. F-2 holders are considered the dependents of F-1 students; therefore, F-2 holders are entitled to remain in the United States for the duration of the F-1 student’s authorized duration of stay. Furthermore, each F-2 holder must be issued an individual SEVIS Form I-20 and may remain in the U.S. as long as the principle F-1 student maintains valid status. If the F-1 students loses valid status, then so will their F-2 dependents.

Employment Opportunities for the F-2 holder:

Aliens admitted into the United States on an F-2 visa are not permitted to accept employment during their stay in the United States.

Education Opportunities for the F-2 holder:

  1. The F-2 spouse is not permitted to enroll in full-time course work unless he/she separately gets an F-1. Furthermore, the spouse may participate in a vocational or recreational program. The child F-2 holder may attend elementary school through 12th grade.

  2. If the F-2 spouse or child wishes to enroll in full-time course work, he/she must apply for and obtain a change of non-immigrant classification to F-1, J-1, or M-1 status.

  3. An F-2 spouse or F-2 child who engages in full time study, without compliance with the above requirements listed in Paragraphs 1 and 2, will be in direct violation of his/her non-immigrant status.


Electronic Code of Federal Regulations: 8 CFR § 214.2(f)(3)

(Updated 10/12/2012 by AD)

For more information about F-1 visas, please click on one of the following links: