F-2 Dependents


This page is intended to provide information for F-2 dependents regarding benefits, eligibility, and other information specific to the F-2 status.

For additional information and resources about daily life, including topics such as schools, housing, and transportation, please see our International Families main page.


Eligibility & Regulations

  • The spouse and unmarried minor children of an F-1 student can be admitted in F-2 status to accompany the primary F-1 student to the United States.

Same-sex Spouses and F-2 status

Marriage is recognized in the United States for issuance of derivative nonimmigrant visas if the marriage is "recognized in the place of celebration," which has been a long-standing policy in immigration law. Since 2016, that standard has also been extended to same-sex marriages.


  • Dependents may also join the F-1 student
  • An eligible dependent must present a dependent Form I-20 issued by the DSO of the school that issued the F-1 student's Form I-20.
  • Each dependent must have their own properly executed Form I-20 with a unique SEVIS ID number.


  • The primary visa holder should log into iStart.
  • F1 students, complete the "Add Dependent" e-form.
  • If you have questions about the financial requirements or technical questions using iStart, please contact your ISSS Advisor.
  • When your e-form is complete and submitted an ISSS advisor will review and process the information to create an F-2 form I-20 for your dependent. You will be notified when the forms are ready in 3-5 business days.
  • Then, you can send the I-20 to your spouse or child(ren) in your home country.
  • Your dependents can then make a visa appointment in their home country.
  • Note:
  • After your dependent obtains the visa, he or she can travel to the U.S.
  • Within 30 days after your dependent's arrival, you will need to arrange for health insurance.  If you are currently insured by GSU Health Insurance Plan (SHIP), you can apply for dependent insurance coverage at additional cost.  If you are covered by a different insurance company, contact your provider to inquire about possible options. For more information on insurance for dependents please see the Health Insurance information on the ISSS website.

Study in F-2 Status

  1. F-2 spouses may not engage in a full course of study.
  2. However, F-2 spouses and children are permitted to enroll in "less than a full course of study," even if the part-time course of study grants academic credit towards a degree program.
  3. Study that is "avocational or recreational in nature" is permitted "up to and including a full-time basis."
  4. F-2 children may engage in full-time study at the K-12 (kindergarten - 12th grade of high school) level.

If an F-2 dependent wishes to pursue full-time study, the F-2 must obtain approval for a Change of Status (COS) to F-1 or J-1 status prior to full-time enrollment. Please read our Change of Visa Status page and contact ISSS for more information.

Work Authorization for F-2 Dependents

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