International students on F-1 and J-1 status may add dependents in F-2 or J-2 status if their dependents are a legal spouse or unmarried children under the age of 21.
Dependents may obtain F-2 or J-2 status and travel to the United States with F- 1 or J-1 primary status holders. Dependents may also join an F-1 or J-1 student who is already studying in the United States.
Adding Dependents to Student Record
International students who want to request an I-20 or DS-2019 for a spouse or a child must complete the “Add Dependent” form in iSTART.
If a dependent is abroad before beginning F-2 or J-2 status, the dependent may use their I-20 or DS-2019 to apply for an F-2 or J-2 visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate.
Dependents who are already in the United States in another valid status may change status within the United States, if eligible. If you have a question about changing status, please schedule an appointment with ISSS.
Steps to Add Dependents
- Log in to iSTART with your NetID and password.
- Find the “Add Dependent” e-form under “Student Services”.
- Complete the Financial Information section and upload proof of funding.
- Refer to ISSS’s Calculating Funding pagefor more information on acceptable documents showing proof of funding.
- Complete student information and dependent information, including the dependent’s passport.
- Certify and Submit request. ISSS will process your request in 5 business days unless more information is needed for follow-up.
Employment & Study
- F-2 dependents are not permitted to work in the United States.
- F-2 dependents may study part-time. An F-2 dependent may only study full-time if attending Kindergarten through 12th grade.
- J-2 dependents are permitted to work part-time or full-time once they obtain an EAD (Employment Authorization Document). J-2 dependents may also study part-time or full-time.
Once the F-1 or J-1 primary has completed his or her program and leaves the United States, F-2 or J-2 dependents must leave with the F-1 or J-1 primary.