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Office of International Education
Bringing an F-2 or J-2 Dependent

Please note that in requesting to add a dependent spouse and/or minor child under the age of 21 to your 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 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/DS-2019 for the F-2/J-2 Visa Application

To request that a dependent spouse or child be added to your SEVIS record and a dependent I-20/DS-2019 be issued for the visa application process:

  • Complete the Dependent I-20 (or Dependent DS-2019) Request Form including and a Financial Worksheet
  • Submit the following paperwork to the Office of International Education:
    • Completed Dependent 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/DS-2019s
    • Proof of health insurance and medical evacuation and repatriation coverage (e.g., photocopy of insurance card or policy details)
      Note: Upon arrival, you must also obtain health insurance coverage for your dependent(s) for the duration of your student program.
    • Enrollment Certification showing full-time status for every semester enrolled at ESF (available at the Registrar’s Office)

If you have been maintaining valid status and all of the requested supplemental documentation including adequate proof of financial support is provided, an F-2 dependent I-20 or J-2 dependent DS-2019 will be issued.

F-2/J-2 Status

An F-2/J-2 dependent's status is linked to the student's legal status and thus will have the same program end date. F-2/J-2 dependents may travel outside the U.S. while the F-1/J-2 remains in the U.S. F-2/J-2 dependents may also remain in the U.S. while the F-1/J-1 travels outside the U.S. (as long as F-1/J-1 primary’s absence is less than 5 months and everyone is maintaining valid status). F-2/J-2 dependent children may enroll in school grades K-12 on a full-time basis; however F-2 dependents cannot enroll in full-time course of study or a degree program beyond elementary and secondary education (K-12). Their enrollment must strictly engage in a course of study that does not amount to what regulations define as full-time for an F-1 student. F-2 dependents cannot obtain employment authorization in the United States. J-2 dependents are eligible to apply to USCIS for employment authorization so long as the employment is not for the purpose of supporting the J-1. The J-2 may begin employment only after receiving the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from USCIS.


Once a dependent obtains F-2/J-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).

F-2 Students Studying at ESF

F-2 students are eligible to partake in courses/classes at ESF so long as it is less than full-time. ESF defines this for an F-2 student to be no more than 11 credits at either the undergradaute or graduate level. Given that F-2 students cannot obtain employment authorization in the U.S., F-2 students may also not work on campus or help any GA/TA/RA positions. If an F-2 student is applying for a change of status from F-2 to F-1, the student must assume their F-2 status regulations until they have both: been granted F-1 status and have reached the start of a new semester.

Dependent Resources

  • Family/Spouse Health Insurance  
  • Syracuse City Schools (elementary, middle school, high school)
  • Syracuse Private Schools (pre-school, elementary, middle school, high school)
  • Child Care in Syracuse

*** The Office of International Education reserves the right to a one-week time frame for reviewing and processing of any submitted requests. Students should anticipate OIE to take the full week and should expect to submit documents early in order to avoid potential complications.***