F-2 Visa Status for Dependent Family Members

F-2 visa status is for spouses and/or children who will accompany you, the F-1 student, to the United States and remain in the United States on a full-time basis for the duration of your academic program. If your dependent family members will accompany you to the U.S., each dependent must be issued a Form I-20 by MUSC and apply for an F-2 visa. Note that F-2 visa status is only available for spouses and children under 21 years old. F-2 visa status is not available for other relatives, such as parents or siblings.

You must inform the Center for Global Health if your dependents will be accompanying you to the US or if your dependents will join you in the US at a later date. Oftentimes, F-1 students will travel to the US first while their dependents will plan to travel to the US to join them at a later date.

You must be able to prove that you can financially support your F-2 dependents. The minimum financial support required for dependents is an additional $500 USD per month for an F-2 spouse and $300 USD per month for each F-2 child. Before CGH can issue I-20 forms for your dependents, you must provide official documentation that proves that you can meet these financial requirements for at least one full year.

If your dependents do not intend on staying within the United States on an ongoing basis for the duration of your studies, and they will only visit for vacations or short stays, your dependents should apply for B-2 visitor visas or travel to the US under the Visa Waiver Program. You will not need to provide proof that you can meet the minimum financial requirements for F-2 dependents if your dependents come to the US as B-2 visitors. However, your dependents will still need to show that they have adequate financial resources to support their stay in the US during the visa interview for a B-2 visa. For information on the B-2 visitor visa and the Visa Waiver Program, refer to the US Department of State website.

Click here to submit a request to CGH for a dependent I-20 form. You will be required to upload the following documents with this request:

  • Copy of biographic page of dependent’s passport
  • Copy of marriage certificate (for spouse) and birth certificate (for child), and certified English translation
  • Documents showing proof of financial support for dependents

If your request is approved, you will be notified once the dependent I-20 forms have been processed.

Each F-2 dependent must apply separately for an F-2 visa. Dependents must complete the DS-160 Nonimmigrant Visa Application online and make a visa interview appointment. However, F-2 dependents do not need to pay the I-901 SEVIS fee. Dependents should refer to the website of their specific US consulate or embassy for further instructions on the documents and information required for an F-2 visa application.

The US Department of State prefers that families apply for F-1 and F-2 visas at the same time. However, if the F-2 spouse and children must apply separately, the dependents should bring a copy of the F-1 student’s passport and visa along with the other required documents.

F-2 dependents are not eligible to work while in the US. In addition, F-2 spouses are not eligible to pursue a degree program while in the US. F-2 dependent children can participate in full-time education, as long as it is elementary through secondary school (which is kindergarten through 12th grade in the US).