Your spouse or unmarried children under 21 may accompany you while you pursue a program of study, research, or teaching in the United States.
If you are an F-1 visa holder, each of your dependents may enter the United States with an F-2 visa.
If your family members wish to visit the United States as tourists, they will need to apply for a B-2 visitor visa. It is customary for the student to write a letter of invitation for their family member(s).
Your children may stay with you on an F-2 visa only until they turn 21. They will need a new visa status to stay in the U.S. after their 21st birthday. Please contact International Student and Scholar Services at least 1 year before their 21st birthday to make plans for obtaining a new status for your child.
Evidence of Financial Support
Whether you decide to bring your family members with you at the time of your initial entry or at a later time, you are required to show evidence of adequate financial support for each dependent.
The additional amount of financial support you must show for each F-2 dependent is shown at the bottom of the Add Dependent form in myPassport.
How to obtain F-2 visas for family members
Upload the following documents to myPassport.
- Financial documentation covering the F-1 and all current and requested F-2 dependents (e.g., bank statement, electronic form proof of graduate assistantship, letter from employer or sponsor, etc.)
- Copy of biographical page of passport
International Student and Scholar Services will add your dependent(s) to your SEVIS record. Then we will issue a new I-20 to you and each of your accompanying dependents.
Provide your dependents with the following documents for visa application:
- Your dependents’ new F-2 Form I-20 (original)
- Your new I-20 (copy)
- Your passport biographical page (copy)
- Your F-1 visa stamp (copy)
- Your I-94 or copy of front and back side of card
- Your financial documentation for your F-1 status (e.g., bank statement, proof of graduate assistantship, letter from employer or sponsor)
- Your letter of invitation of your dependent
- Financial documentation for all F-2 dependents (e.g., bank statement, letter from sponsor, etc.)
Your dependents should contact their local U.S. Embassy/Consular Office and follow the procedures for the F-2 visa application.
When your dependents arrive in Pullman, have them check in with WSU International Programs International Student and Scholar Services and provide a copy of each dependent’s immigration documents.
Rights and restrictions while in the United States
While they are in the United States, your dependents will need to abide by certain restrictions regarding employment and academic study.
F-2 dependents are not allowed to work in the United States under any circumstances.
Since only those who are legally allowed to work in the United States are eligible for Social Security benefits, an F-2 dependent may not apply for a Social Security number. However, you may obtain an Individual Tax Identification Number for your F-2 dependents if needed for tax-filing purposes.
International Student and Scholar Services strongly encourages F-2 dependents to obtain health insurance.
F-2 dependents may volunteer under certain circumstances. The employer must obey labor laws, which often prohibit work done without pay by non-students.
As long as F-1 students maintain lawful status, their dependents are allowed to travel in and out of country by themselves with proper documentation.
If you are on post-completion Optional Practical Training, your F-2 dependents should carry a copy of your OPT I-20, OPT card, and a letter from your OPT employer in addition to their own immigration documents.