Bringing Your Family

Bringing Your Family as Dependents

If you intend to bring your family with you to the United States, they will enter as your dependents.  Dependents are defined as spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21.

Immigration documents for dependents should be requested at the time of application for your own documents.  The additional costs for dependents are listed on the Financial Certificate that accompanied your application for admission.   If you have questions about these estimates, please contact your International Student Advisor for more information.

Each dependent will need a separate I-20/DS-2019 in order to enter the United States.   The dependents will need to apply for an F-2 or J-2 visa before entering.   Dependents will need the I-20/DS-2019 document and a valid entry visa in their passport in order to enter the United States.

Federal Regulations require J-2 dependents to maintain health insurance for the duration of J-2 status.  F-2 dependents are also strongly encouraged to obtain health insurance due to the high cost of health care in the United States.

Dependents in F-2 status are not, under any circumstances, allowed to earn income in the United States. Dependents in J-2 status are eligible to apply to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for employment authorization once they arrive in the United States. 

J-2 dependents are permitted to study in the United States.  F-2 dependents are not permitted to take classes, even part-time, unless they first change to student status. The exceptions to this rule are:

  • F-2 children engaged in full-time study in an elementary or secondary school, or
  • F-2 dependents engaged in part-time study which is a vocational or recreational in nature (e.g. crafts class, etc.)

To request an I-20 or DS-2019 for your spouse or child(ren) to join you in the United States, please complete and follow all instructions on the Dependent Visa Request Form

Bringing Your Family for a Temporary Visit

If you would like to invite family members or friends to visit you for a short period while you are studying in the United States, or for your graduation, you should request a National Clearinghouse Verification Certificate to verify your current enrollment status. You should also write a letter to your family members stating that you would like them to visit you in the United States.  View Sample Invitation Letter.  You can find more information about visitor's visas on the U.S. Department of State's website.

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