Dependents – Bringing Family to the U.S.

International students and scholars wishing to bring family members to the United States have two options, depending on the nature of the relationship:

1. Legally-married spouse or unmarried dependent child / children under the age of 21 years
  • These individuals are eligible for derivative dependent status such as:
 Primary Visa Category  Derivative Visa Category
 F1  F2 *
 J1  J2 *
 H1B  H4
 O1  O3

*see below

The dependent’s category and duration of status equals that of the primary visa holder.

  • Canadians don’t require visa stamps, but they must still be admitted to the U.S. in the proper non-immigrant category at the port of entry.
2. Parent, Sibling, Child over the age of 21, or Fiancé
  • These individuals may apply for the B-2 visitor category for a maximum of 6 months. In all cases, documentation of adequate funding to support the invited family members is required.
F-2 or J-2 Status

All applicants for an F-2 or J-2 dependent visa:

  • Visit the embassy or consulate together with the primary F-1 or J-1 visa holder to apply for the appropriate visa stamps.
  • Provide the necessary legal documents to establish the relationship with the primary visa holder, such as a marriage or birth certificate. Contact the embassy/ consulate in advance to find out which documents are required.
  • Consular officials will also expect to see proof of adequate financial support for family members, along with all I-20s or DS-2019's that have been issued to you by Georgia State.

  • Visit the embassy or consulate with necessary legal documents to establish the relationship with the primary visa holder, such as a marriage or birth certificate in addition to documented proof of financial support during their stay in the U.S.
  • Financial support must be documented on form I-20 or DS-2019 as issued to the dependent by Georgia State University.
  • Requests for dependent documents are made to ISSS via iStart, not in person or by mail.

  • ISSS requires evidence of funding in the amount of $4500 per year for a spouse, and $2500 per year per child in order to issue original DS-2019 or I-20 forms.

  • The primary visa holder should log into iStart.
  • F1 students, complete the "Add Dependent" e-form.
  • J1 students, complete the "DS-2019 and Passport Update Request" 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 and ISSS advisor will review and process the information to create an F-2 form I-20 or a J-2 form DS-2019 for your dependent. You will be notified when the forms are ready in 3-5 business days.
  • Then, you can send the I-20 or DS-2019 to your spouse or child(ren) in your home country.
  • Your dependents can then make a visa appointment in their home country. Please see above for more details.
  • Note: As of Nov. 1, 2016 eye glasses are no longer allowed in visa photos. For more information please see the US Dept. of State U.S. Visas page.
  • 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.

Your dependent(s) are not eligible for a Social Security Number, but s/he can apply for a Georgia driver’s license if they are at least 16 years old.