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Family & Dependents

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Many students wish to bring their husbands, wives, or children to the USA. Usually, the best way to bring them to the USA is by using an F-2/J-2 visa. The F-2/J-2 visa is a “dependent” visa to bring family members to the USA who will be dependent on the F-1/J-1 visa holder. Many students also want their parents to visit them in the US, which may require a B1/B2 visa. Read below for important information regarding bringing family members to the US.

Eligibility for Dependent Status

To qualify for F-2/J-2 status, a spouse or unmarried minor children (under age 21) must establish to the satisfaction of the consular officer and the immigration officer at the port of entry that:

  • He or she is the spouse (marriage license) or child (birth certificate) of the F-1/J-1 principal
  • He or she has sufficient funds to cover his/her expenses, or that other arrangements have been made to provide for such expenses once in the United States;
  • Required health insurance is adequate. (J Only)
  • He or she intends to leave the United States upon the termination of the status of the principle J-1/F-1
  • If the dependents are following to join the student, the F-1/J-1, is or will be within 30 days, enrolled in a full course of study.

How to Request an I-20/DS-2019 for Dependents

Please submit a Visa Request Form for Dependents along with a copy of the dependents’ passports to OISS. International students and scholars planning to bring family members to the United States must purchase medical insurance for them.

Does the OISS offer any program services and guidance for dependents?

Yes! InterDepend is a group for individuals accompanying UD visa holders.  You may be a spouse or child of a student, scholar or visitor to UD.  You are unique, and it is our job here at UD to help you feel just as much at home as our own students and scholars.  After all, you are part of the UD family! You can use this site http://sites.udel.edu/interdepend/ and our social media links to stay connected with others accompanying UD visa holders.

Take the Welcome Survey to tell us a bit about you and how we can make UD a rewarding experience.

Can I work on an F-2 visa?

Individuals in F-2 status may not accept employment or engage in business under any circumstances

Can I study on an F-2 visa?

  1. F-2 spouses may not engage in full-time study
  2. F-2 children may only engage in full-time study at the K-12 level
  3. Part-time study is permitted only to the extent that it is "avocational or recreational."

If an F-2 wishes to engage in study full-time, or to pursue an educational objective, i.e. to qualify for admission to a college or university, then the F-2 should change status to F-1. F-2 dependents may not begin the course of study, even part-time, until the change of status is approved.  Please contact the OISS for more information regarding F-2 part time study and change of status.

Can I work on a J-2 visa?

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. J-2 dependents can apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from USCIS in order to be employed in the United States. The J-2 may begin employment only after receiving the EAD from USCIS.

Can I study on a J-2 visa?

Yes, you can study on a J-2 visa. There is no regulatory restriction on study for J-2 dependents

How long can I stay in the US on my F-2/J-2 visa?

Dependents in F-2/J-2 status are permitted to stay in the United States only to the extent that the F-1/J-1 is authorized to stay. F-2/J-2 dependents maintain their status through the F-1 principal maintaining his or her status. Like the F-1/J-1 students and scholars, F-2/J-2 dependents are required to keep their passports valid at least 6 months into the future.

What if my family member is not eligible for a dependent visa?

Many students want to bring non-dependent family, such as parents, cousins, aunts and uncles to the US.  These types of family members are not eligible for dependent visas, but may be able to visit you using a tourist visa.  Be aware that tourist visa applicants must show proof of their reason for travel.  If your family is coming to see you, you must have valid status in SEVIS.  If you have family coming to the US on the basis of your current F-1 or J-1 visa, you MUST check with OISS two weeks before the planned visa appointment to make sure your affairs are in order.  As with all visa appointments, OISS and the University are not responsible for decisions made by consular officers or port of entry officials.  We will do everything we can to provide you the information you need to prove your student or scholar status, but require that you make us aware in advance and that you check your status at least two weeks before your family's appointment.

Visas Resources