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Washington State University
International On Campus

Bringing Dependents on an F Visa

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.

How to Apply for an F-2 Visa


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.


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.


If WSU Is not Your Program Sponsor

If you are an F-1 student or scholar and your program sponsor is not WSU, please contact your program sponsor directly to inquire about bringing dependents.

Rights and Restrictions 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.

Social Security

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.

Health Insurance

International Student and Scholar Services strongly encourages F-2 dependents to obtain health insurance.

Volunteer Work

F-2 dependents may volunteer under certain circumstances. The employer must obey labor laws, which often prohibit work done without pay by non-students.

International Travel

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.

Family Visits

If you would like to invite your parents or other immediate family members for a short visit to the United States, you will need to write a B-2 Visitor Visa Invitation Letter. International Student and Scholar Services provides a template example at myPassport under B-2 Visitor Visa Invitation Letter, which is intended to provide instructions on how to write the letter.

Applying for a B-2 Visa

Your family member(s) should contact their local U.S. Embassy/Consular office and follow the procedures for B-2 visa application.