US F2 Visa Guide - Bring Your Spouse and Children to America (2023)

Do you have dependents, such as a spouse or unmarried children under 21 years old, and want to stay with them while you study in the United States of America? With an F2 visa, you have secured the authority to do that.

Don’t forget that those with an F1 visa are only allowed to study in the US at various levels of education, starting from elementary to graduate school. But for any reason you want your dependents, such as a spouse or unmarried children under 21 years old, to be with you, F2 dependent visa is what you need to get to allow you to bring them to the United States.

An F2 Visa is a type of visa that allows dependents of F1 student visa holders to move to the United States and live with the F-1 student. At the same time, they complete their degree programs at approved US colleges or universities. The F2 visa is directly related to the conditions that the F1 visa holder has.

Therefore, from this article, you will know what makes you eligible to qualify for F2 Visa, the necessary Visa requirements, and various steps to apply for F2 Visa.

General Eligibility for an F2 Visa

You are eligible for an F2 dependents visa if you have the following qualities:

  • Be the spouse of an approvedF1 visaholder.
  • Or you are an unmarried child under 21 years old of an approved F1 visa holder.
  • Have the financial means to support the family during your stay in the US.
  • Besides these conditions, there are documents you must compile before you can begin your F2 visa application.

Documents Requirements for F2 Visa

You will need to bring the following documents as the requirements to apply for an F2 dependent visa. They are:

  • Your current and previous passports.
  • Photocopies of your passport pages.
  • The DS-160 confirmation page.
  • Proof of financial stability. You can use bank or tax records, employment pay slips, etc., as proof.
  • A USA visa photograph. The photo must have been taken within the last six months.
  • Interview confirmation letter.
  • The receipts which prove you have paid the necessary fees.
  • The DS-160 confirmation page.
  • Your original Form I-20 and one copy.
  • A copy of the F1 visa holder’s I-20 form.
  • A copy of the F1 visa (if applicable).
  • If you are applying separately, a copy of the F1 visa holder’s passport.
  • Original birth certificate if you are the child of the F1 visa holder.
  • Original marriage certificate if you are the spouse of the F1 visa holder.
  • Genuine marriage proof such as:
    • Wedding album.
    • Wedding guest list.
    • Receipts of wedding spending.
    • Receipts of honeymoon trips.
    • If married at the registrar, submit the wedding affidavit and pictures of you and your spouse with the wedding witnesses.

6 Easy Ways to Apply for the F2 Visa

To make an F2 visa application, follow these six easy ways to get your application done. They are:

  1. Get a Form I-20.
  2. Fill in Form DS-160 online.
  3. Pay the visa fees.
  4. Schedule your visa interview.
  5. Gather and complete your F2 Visa document file.
  6. Attend your interview.

#1. Get a Form I-20

Getting a form 1-20 for an F2 dependents visa is the first thing to do during your application process. Because when the F1 visa holder gets accepted into aSEVPinstitution, the school releases a Form I-20. The form I-20 details the purpose of the visa, an estimate of expenses, and the time the educational program lasts.

(Video) What is the F2 visa? | Bring your spouse and children to study with you in America

So for the dependents of the F1 visa holder to get an F2 visa, the F1 person should inform the SEVP institution that the dependents also intend to apply for the visa. With this information, the SEVP institution will also compile and release a form I-20 for the dependents. Each person who wants to apply for an F2 visa must have a Form I-20 to qualify for an F2 visa. After getting this form, the application procedure follows similar procedures the F1 visa takes.

#2. Fill in Form DS-160 online

The DS-160 form is an Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application form. It is for temporary travel to the United States. Form DS-160 is filled and submitted electronically to the Department of State website via the Internet.

TheDS-160 formshould be submitted online with all the necessary information. When you submit it, the page will generate a barcode and confirmation page, which you need to retain for later on.

#3. Pay the visa fees

At this stage, you will pay your F2 visa application fee of $160. You must pay this fee to be able to proceed with the application. When you complete the payment, you will get a receipt as proof of payment, and you will keep it for later use. There might also be other fees depending on the country or US Embassy you are applying from, such as visa issuance fees or reciprocity fees.

Whereas the F1 visa holder is responsible for this payment and pays the end of the SEVIS I-901 fee, the F2 visa applicant is exempt from this fee.

#4. Schedule your visa interview

As an F2 applicant, you can apply at the same time as the F1 applicant, or you can apply separately. If you are applying together, you can schedule the visa interview simultaneously. This procedure is recommended. However, you must schedule your visa interview if you are applying separately. When scheduled, you will get an interview confirmation letter which you will show to the officers at the US Embassy to prove you have an appointment.

#5. Gather and complete your F2 Visa document file

You need a file with the required documents when you go for your visa interview. Ensure the file is complete and no crucial documents are missing because your application depends on it.

#6. Attend your interview

Go to your visa interview on time with all the necessary documents. You will have questions regarding your relationship with the F1 visa holder and your intentions for being in the US. If the visa interviewer suspects that you are hiding something or that you intend to violate F2 visa rules, they will deny your visa.

(Video) F1 student's Dependent Visa F2 process | How Can I bring My Spouse & Kids on Student Visa (F1 Visa)

Processing time for the F2 Visa

Good to know that processing times vary for visas due to the differences and workloads in US Embassies. After your F2 interview, you might get a response immediately from your interviewer on whether you got the visa or you were denied.

However, it is more common to wait a few days or weeks. This is because the US Embassy will take time to review your documents and responses. They will mainly focus on you and the F1 visa holder’s financial situation to determine whether you can cover your expenses while in the US.

So if your F2 visa processing is taking too long, do not worry, as the US Embassy has a heavy workload or is taking its time to analyze your case.

Things You Can Do With an F2 Visa

There are things you can do since the F2 visa is directly related to the F1 visa and will have the same validity. For example, if your spouse on an F1 visa is allowed to stay in the US for two years, your F2 visa will also have a validity of two years. So, during the years of your stay, you can do the following:

#1. Extend your stay

F2 Visa holders can extend their stay only when the F1 visa holder extends their stay by getting a new Form I-20. Then, you, as their dependent, will also get a renewal. To get your F2 visa renewed, you should file Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. In addition, you should attach proof of your relationship with the primary F1 visa holder and financial evidence that you have enough funds to cover your stay.

#2. Change your status

With an F2 visa, you can also apply to change your status. For example, if you enroll in an academic degree with a SEVP-approved institution, you will have to apply for an F1 visa, and you might get a change of status. In addition, if you find a job requiring an H-type work visa, such as an H-1B visa, you and your employer can petition USCIS and follow the appropriate procedures to change your status.

Moreover, suppose you are an unmarried child under 21 years old or an F1 visa holder and turn 21 while in the US. In that case, you will have to apply for a different visa to remain in the US. This is because you will no longer qualify as the dependent of the F1 visa holder and will have to return to your home country if you do not get a different type of US visa.

#3. Get a green card

When the F1 visa holder applies and gets a Green Card, you, as their dependent on an F2 visa, automatically get the Green Card too. However, you can also try to apply yourself. For example, if you find an employer willing to sponsor you, you can file for an Employment-Based Green Card. Otherwise, you could also change your status to a different visa, allowing dual intent and applying for the Green Card.

(Video) F2 Visa for Dependents of F1 Visa Holders

#4. Have access to healthcare

Another thing you can do with your F2 visa has healthcare access. You can access American hospitals and medical facilities as an F2 visa holder, but having a health insurance plan as an F2 visa holder will be very good. However, the cost of treatment may be unbearable for you, as US healthcare costs are the highest in the world. They range from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. A simple service such as a night at the hospital may cost more than $3000.

Thus, you are strongly advised to purchase a health insurance plan for F2 visa holders.

What are the Limitations of the F2 Visa?

There are certain restrictions on an F2 visa because this is a dependent visa with a specific purpose. The purpose of the F2 visa is for families to remain together while the person with the F1 visa gets their educational degree, which can be for several years. It has no other purpose, which is why these are the limitations of having an F2 visa. So the following are some of the limitations:

#1. You are not allowed to work on an F2 visa

There are no F2 visa work permits. This is because your F1 spouse or parent has proved they can afford to cover your living expenses in the US, so there are no forms of paid employment you can take up within the US. You can volunteer or do unpaid work. Still, you are not allowed to get into any employment agreement.

#2. You are not allowed to get a Social Security Number (SSN)

Since you are not allowed to work, you cannot get an SSN either. You are only eligible to get an ITIN number for tax purposes.

#3. You are not allowed to enroll in a full educational degree

The F2 visa does not allow you to enroll in a degree or credit-bearing education. So you cannot complete a Bachelor’s or a Master’s Degree with this visa. You can only enroll in recreational, vocational, and non-credit-bearing courses for hobbies or fun.

In addition, if you are a child dependent of an F1 visa holder, you are only allowed to complete elementary and middle school in the USA. Therefore, you will not be permitted to enroll in high school on an F2 visa. To do so, you will need to apply for a status change.

#4. You cannot travel to the US before the F1 visa holder

If you are entering the US for the first time, you must either be accompanied by the F1 visa holder or travel after them. You cannot travel to the US before the F1 visa holder has been allowed entry into the country.

(Video) MOVING TO USA WITH KIDS/ F1/F2 VISA?/ International student's struggle

However, there are no other travel restrictions after you enter the US for the first time. You can travel in and out of the country anytime without being accompanied by the F1 visa holder.

Recommended:If you’re coming to the USA for temporary employment, please check out theAmerican Q Visa.


Who is eligible for an F2 visa?

To be eligible for an F2 visa, you must fulfill the following criteria:

  1. Be the spouse of an approved F1 visa holder.
  2. Be the unmarried child under 21 years old of an approved F1 visa holder.
  3. Have the financial means to support the family during your stay in the US.

How long will an F2 visa stay in the USA?

How long can I stay in the US on an F-2 visa? You may remain in the US as long as the principal F-1 visa holder maintains valid status. You lose your status once the principal applicant loses F-1 status.

Can I work in the USA with an F2 visa?

Suppose you are in the United States on an F-2 Visa. The family depends on an academic student on an F-1 Visa. Then you might get bored. Your current visa status does not allow you to work in the United States.

How is an F2 visa different from an F-1?

The F visa is classified into F1 and F2 visas. Nonimmigrant students use F1 visas for academic and language training courses. The dependents of F1 visa holders use the F2 visas. In addition, spouses and unmarried minor children are said to be the dependents of the F1 visa holder.

How long is the F2 visa valid?

Valid F-2 visa in passport (except dependents from Canada). F-2 dependent I-20 with a valid travel signature from OIS on page 3 (signatures are valid for six months).

Can an F2 visa be changed to H-1B?

As a nonimmigrant permit, the F-2 visa cannot be used as a stepping stone to permanent residency. In addition, it does not automatically allow holders to take up employment in the US. However, it is possible to change status, including an H1-b visa, to work legally.

(Video) How I Came to The US with My Spouse | F2 Visa Application, Tips, Dos and Don't

Can F2 apply for a work permit?

There are restrictions on F-2 dependent visa holders regarding this. For example, F-2 visa holders usually can’t work with their visas since they can’t usually obtain a work permit. They can, however, engage in unpaid voluntary work. In addition, without a work permit, the F-2 visa holder also won’t be able to get a Social Security Number.


Get your F2 visa today and enjoy your stay in the United States of America with your spouse and relatives. So with this article, you can now understand the most straightforward procedure to obtain your F2 visa. However, don’t forget to contact us at if need be.

People Also Read:


US F2 Visa Guide - Bring Your Spouse and Children to America? ›

What Is an F2 Visa? F2 is a nonimmigrant dependent visa that allows the immediate family members of an F1 student visa holder to relocate to the United States. The spouse and unmarried children (under 21 years of age) of F1 student visa holders are eligible for an F2 visa to enter and live in the U.S.

What are the conditions for U.S. F2 visa? ›

To be eligible for an F2 visa, you must fulfill the following criteria: Be the spouse of an approved F1 visa holder, or. Be the unmarried child under 21 years old of an approved F1 visa holder. Have the financial means to support the family during your stay in the US.

What is F2 family visa? ›

What Is the F2A Visa? The F2A visa is a US immigrant visa for spouses or minor children of Green Card holders. This visa is designed to allow US Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) to bring these certain family members to the US permanently.

Who is dependent on F2 visa? ›

Your F-2 lawful status is the official U.S. government designation and authorization of your stay in the U.S. as a non-immigrant dependent of an F-1 student. Your status is dependent upon and in effect for the duration of your F-1 principal visa holder.

How long does it take for F2 visa to be approved? ›

US Visa Processing Times for Different Visa Types
Visa TypeProcessing Time
F-2 visaFew days to 2 weeks
J-1 visa1 to 4 months
Q-1 visa15 days to 3 months
M-1 visaAt least 4 weeks
15 more rows

How long can F2 visa holder stay in USA? ›

How long can I stay in the U.S. on F-2 visa? You may stay in the U.S. as long as the principal F-1 visa holder maintains valid status. You lose your status once the principal applicant loses F-1 status.

Can spouse on F2 visa work in the US? ›

Employment. The F-2 spouse and children of an F-1 student may not accept employment in the U.S. However, they may do volunteer work as long as there is no compensation of any kind and the F-2 dependent is doing a job usually done by volunteers.

What are the benefits of F2 visa holder? ›

Benefits Enjoyed by F-2 Visa Holders

On F2 visa, you may enter the US along with your spouse or join them later. You may also travel in and out of the US or remain in the US continuously as long as you maintain valid F-2 status.

How much bank balance is required for F2 visa? ›

Proof of funding or bank statement in U.S. dollars and dated within the past three months covering at least $13,403 USD for spouse and $6,701 USD per child.

How long does it take to get a spouse visa for F2A? ›

The processing time for an F2a visa petition and application can range from 1 – 10 years due to the annual cap on the number of visas issued.

Can F2 apply for SSN? ›

Employment & Social Security Number

F-2 dependents are not eligible to work in the US. They also are not eligible to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN).

Can I bring my brother on F2 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. If your dependent family members will accompany you to the US, each dependent must be issued a Form I-20 by MUSC.

Can F2 visa holder give birth in the US? ›

If they were diplomats, then no, the baby would not be American. So, if the pregnant F2 visa holder enters the US AND THEN GIVES BIRTH in the US, then yes, the baby is American. That doesn't mean that the family can stay in the US, though. Only the baby has the right to live in the US, not the parents.

Can you apply for green card on F2 visa? ›

The F2 Dependent Visa is a nonimmigrant permit, meaning that it cannot lead to obtaining a Green Card, but you may apply for a change of status while in the U.S. on this visa.

What should I wear to my F2 visa interview? ›

Here are a few tips on what to wear for a visa interview. Choose formal clothing — Professional attire is the way to go with almost any interview, and the same applies to F-1 student visa interviews. Certain formal clothing options such as dress shirts, ties, suits, pantsuits, and jackets are always appropriate.

How can I change my f2 visa to work visa in USA? ›

Changing your visa status

You can apply to change your status by filing Form I-539. You also have the option of changing your status from an F-2 visa to a different type of nonimmigrant visa such as an H-1B or an L-1 visa, which are both nonimmigrant and dual intent visas.

Can f2 change to h1b? ›

As a nonimmigrant permit, the F-2 visa cannot be used as a stepping stone to permanent residency, and it does not automatically allow holders to take up employment in the US. It is possible, however, to change status, including to H1-b visa, in order to work legally.

How long does it take to get f2 green card? ›

Family-based green card applicants under this category may also experience quite a long processing time of up to 12 months and above. And in some cases, it may be as long as 5 to 10 years. Processing times can be a lot longer if your application is incomplete or contains errors.

Can I bring my family to USA on student visa? ›

An international student may be accompanied to the U.S. by their dependent(s) at any time. Dependents are defined as spouses and/or unmarried minor children. Children over the age of 21 are not eligible to enter as the dependent of an international student (F-1 or J-1 student).

Do f2 visa holders need to file taxes? ›

Does my F-2 or J-2 spouse/child need to file a tax form? Yes. Anyone in F or J status present in the U.S. and a nonresident for tax purposes is required to complete a tax form. If your F-2 or J-2 dependent did not earn any income, they would still be required to fill out the Form 8843.

Can f2 go to school? ›

F-2 and M-2 dependents can engage in study at an SEVP-certified school in the United States as long as they are enrolled in less than a full course of study. Read more about this in the Adjustments to Designated School Official Limits Frequently Asked Questions.

Can I take my kid for US visa interview? ›

The only time a child under age 14 must attend the interview is if he or she is the only applicant on the petition. A child under the age of 14 does not need to be present at the interview if they are included in the same petition as their parents.

Can f2 visa get a bank account? ›

Yes, US non-citizens can open a bank account in the US. US non-citizens include US permanent residents (green card holders) and US visa holders such as temporary workers on work visas such as H1B, L1, etc., or international students.

How much bank balance do I need to show for USA? ›

Although there isn't a predetermined minimum balance needed, an F-1 visa requires a minimum balance of 10,000 USD.

Can F2A visa be denied? ›

What happens when an F2a visa application is denied? If a visa applicant is denied based on a ground of inadmissibility, it may be possible to secure a waiver of inadmissibility. Grounds of inadmissibility are: Health and medical reasons.

How fast can I bring my spouse to USA? ›

The time it takes to process an I-130 petition for a U.S. citizen filing for their foreign-born spouse is usually between 5 and 12 months. However, in some cases, petitions in this category can be processed in as little as two months.

What is priority date for F2A? ›

F2A numbers SUBJECT to per-country limit are authorized for issuance to applicants chargeable to all countries EXCEPT MEXICO, with priority dates beginning 01NOV18 and earlier than 08SEP20.

What category is f2 USCIS? ›

The “F” category is for academic students and the “M” is for vocational students.
Students and Exchange Visitors.
Students: Academic and Vocational (F and M visas)
F-2Spouses and children of F-1
F-3Canadian or Mexican national academic commuter students
M-1Vocational students
M-2Spouses and children of M-1
5 more rows
Mar 21, 2023

How do I extend my f2 visa? ›

You can renew your F-2 visa by filing form I-539. To qualify for a renewal, you may be required to attach proof of your relationship with the F-1 visa holder. You may also be required to provide financial evidence proving you have sufficient funds to cover your stay.

Can F2 visa be converted to F-1? ›

In order to change status while in the U.S. from a dependent (F-2) to a student (F-1) status you will need to be admitted to a full-time academic program at a school that can issue you a Form I-20. In addition, your F-1 spouse must be in the U.S. and in status when you are requesting this change.

Can I work remotely on F2 visa? ›

Can I do business online, on an F-2 visa in the USA? Generally the answer is no. Business online means you're self employed and that is not allowed with a F2 visa. If the business is outside the US, potentially you can do it since you're not “working” in the US but I would first check with an immigration attorney.

Can F2 drive? ›

All F1/F2 visa holders may be eligible for driver's license while in the US. However, those who wish to operate a vehicle must successfully apply for and receive a driver's license. To acquire a driver's license, you must apply for one at your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

What if a tourist baby is born in the USA? ›

It is still legal to deliver your baby in the United States, provided that childbirth was not the purpose for which you applied for your Visa. Birth citizenship is still protected under the constitution for all individuals regardless of their nationality.

What happens if the baby is born in USA is it a citizen? ›

Amendment XIV, Section 1, Clause 1 of the U.S. Constitution directs that all persons born in the United States are U.S. citizens. This is the case regardless of the tax or immigration status of a person's parents.

What is the cheapest way to give birth in the US? ›

Birth center births and home births are typically less expensive than hospital births,4 because there are no high-risk procedures done; only low-risk parents are eligible. So you save money by not having to pay for those procedures outright, or for any fees involved in the event you'd need them.

How long does it take USCIS to process f2 to F-1? ›

Processing with USCIS can take 6 to 12 months plus mailing time or longer depending on USCIS processing times. While the application is pending you may not leave the United States.

What is the best answer for U.S. visa interview? ›

It is very important to answer honestly. Tell about the reasons you have visited the US before, i.e. tourism, training, medical reasons, etc. Even if you have stayed beyond your visa validity, been deported or detained during your previous stay in the US, you must tell.

What can you not say in an F 1 visa interview? ›

'Like, Umm, I guess' – Try to avoid using conversation fillers such as 'Like', 'Ummmm', or 'I guess' in a sentence when you are responding to a question. Pay close attention to the questions asked and respond with just the answer. Keep in short and simple.

What should I not bring to a U.S. visa interview? ›

Flammable items such as Cigarettes, cigars, match boxes, lighters. Sharp objects, including scissors, pocketknives, pen knives or nail files. Weapons, weapon-like objects, or explosive material of any kind. Long handled umbrellas (longer than 40 cm when closed)

Can I wear jeans for U.S. visa interview? ›

Just make sure your clothes are clean and tidy and you'll do fine. Jeans/khakis and a polo shirt would be my recommendation as a jumping off point for both male and female visa applicants, but T-shirts are also fine, as are maxi dresses, Hawaiian shirts, etc.

How long after visa interview will I get my visa? ›

Overview. After your visa interview, you will be told if your visa application is approved, denied, or requires administrative processing. If your visa is approved, you can collect the visa and passport the following business day from 3:00 to 3:30 p.m. only.

Are F2 visa holders allowed to work? ›

Please note that, in general, F-2 and H-4 visa holders are not eligible for work authorization. In cases where the F-2 or H-4 dependent was included in a Form I-485 (Petition for Adjustment to Permanent Residency), s/he may apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD card).

What are the benefits of US F2 visa? ›

The F-2 visa is acquirable for spouse and insignificant children of the F-1 visa holders. An F2 dependent visa holder can stay in the United States of America as extended as the F1 visa holder object in lawful position. To be direct, F2 holders lose their status once the principal individual loses F1 status.

What documents required for F2 visa interview? ›

F-2 Visa Requirements
  • copy of F-1 student's I-20.
  • copy of F-1 student's I-901 SEVIS fee receipt.
  • copy of F-1 student's passport and F-1 visa.
  • copy of F-1 student's I-94 IF they are already in the US.
  • copy of F-1 student's transcript IF they are already in the US.

Can I travel outside the US with F2 visa? ›

Travel. F-2 dependents can travel freely in and out of the United States while the F-1 student remains active in their Georgetown academic program. They should show a valid F-2 visa stamp and a Form I-20 signed for travel within the last year for reentry.

Can I bring my parents on F2 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. If your dependent family members will accompany you to the US, each dependent must be issued a Form I-20 by MUSC.


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