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Bringing an F-2 Dependent

Please note that in requesting to add a dependent spouse and/or minor child under the age of 21 to your F-1 SEVIS record, you are agreeing to have their status linked to yours and thus must accept the financial responsibility of supporting the dependent(s) and maintaining comprehensive health insurance coverage for the dependent(s) for the duration of your F-1 program. Further, as their status is linked to your status, their actions (e.g., inability to maintain status) may directly impact your status and future status as well.

Requesting a Dependent I-20 for the F-2 Visa Application

To request that a dependent spouse or child be added to your F-1 SEVIS record and a dependent I-20 be issued for the visa application process:

  • Complete the Dependent I-20 Request Form including and a Financial Worksheet
  • Submit the following paperwork to the Office of International Education:
    • Completed Dependent I-20 Request Form
    • Proof of financial support for one year or until the end of your program, whichever is shorter. Acceptable proof includes:
      • Current personal/family bank statement or available balance page of your online account information;
      • Assistantship letter, scholarship letter, or fellowship letter; and/or
      • Notarized letter from a sponsor (relative or third party) and sponsor’s financial bank statement
    • Proof of your relationship to the dependent spouse and/or child under 21 years of age (e.g., marriage license, birth certificate). This will have to be presented at the consulate and deemed acceptable in order for the visa to be issued.
    • Photocopy of your dependent(s) passport
    • Your passport, visa, I-94, and I-20s; copies will be made at the Office of International Education
    • Proof of health insurance and medical evacuation and repatriation coverage (e.g., photocopy of insurance card or policy details)
      You must also obtain health insurance coverage for your dependent(s) for the duration of your F-1 student program. If it is not possible to obtain coverage prior to their arrival in the US, you must obtain coverage immediately after your dependent(s) arrival.
    • Enrollment Certification showing full-time status for every semester enrolled at ESF (available at the Registrar’s Office)

If you have been maintaining valid F status and all of the requested supplemental documentation including adequate proof of financial support is provided, an F-2 dependent I-20 will be issued.

F-2 Status

An F-2 dependent's status is linked to the F-1 student's legal status and thus will have the same program end date. F-2 dependents may travel outside the U.S. while the F-1 remains in the U.S. just as the F-2 dependents may remain in the U.S. while the F-1 primary travels outside the U.S. as long as F-1 primary’s absence is less than 5 months and everyone is maintaining valid status. F-2 dependent children may enroll in school grades K-12; however F-2 dependents cannot enroll in full-time course of study or a degree program beyond elementary and secondary education (K-12). F-2 dependents cannot obtain employment authorization in the United States.

Once a dependent obtains F-2 status, the Office of International Education will only terminate that status if credible evidence of one of the following is submitted:

  • Legal divorce (if the dependent is the student's spouse)
  • 21st birthday (if the dependent is the student's child)
  • Death
  • The dependent him- or herself requests termination of his or her record and provides evidence of departure from the U.S. (e.g., home country entry stamp).

Dependent Resources

Additional Information


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State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry
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