Skip to navigation menu

Skip to main content

Office of International Services
Teachers College, Columbia University
teachers college logo columbia univertsity logo

Office of International Services

F-1 Student Status > F-2 Dependents

F-2 Dependents

The spouse and/or minor children under 21 of an F-1 student who accompany the student are eligible for F-2 status. No other relatives are eligible for F-2 status.

Teachers College will issue separate I-20(s) forms to any eligible F-2 dependents of an F-1 student.  You may make a request for I-20s for your F-2 dependents any time prior to or after your arrival at Teachers College.

Eligibility for F-2 Sponsorship

In order to request F-2 sponsorship for your dependents, the OIS must receive evidence that you have adequate financial resources to support the living expenses for your dependent(s). Information about financial requirements are on our Application for Visa Certificate (AVC).  Please complete the Dependents section of the AVC and submit it along with the required financial documentation to the OIS. The OIS will process an I-20 for dependent(s) as appropriate.

Application for visa certificate (avc) 2006-07 Download a copy of the Application for Visa Certificate from the FORMS section of our website.

Restrictions on F-2 Status

F-2 dependents are allowed to accompany the F-1 student for the duration of his/her lawful stay in the United States. However, F-2 dependents are subject to certain immigration restrictions.

  • Individuals holding F-2 status are not allowed to work in the U.S. under any circumstances.
  • An F-2 dependent spouse may not enroll in full-time study. An F-2 may take classes that are recreational or avocational (not professional). Examples of recreational courses include short-term English language lessons or arts and crafts classes. An F-2 must change to F-1 status if he/she wishes to pursue an academic (degree) program.
  • F-2 dependent children may enroll in elementary or secondary education as appropriate.
  • F-2 children lose F-2 status upon turning 21.
  • F-2 dependents lose F-2 status if the F-1 student completes or otherwise ends his/her status.

Travel in F-2 Status

F-2 dependents may travel outside of and re-enter the United States together with or separately from the F-1 student. In all cases, F-2 dependents should carry the following documents in order to request F-2 status upon arriving in the United States:

  • A unexpired passport valid at least six months into the future upon arrival
  • A Form I-20 issued in the F-2 dependent's name, with a travel signature from the OIS (travel signatures are issued after the F-1 / F-2 have arrived, and is not necessary for new arrivals)
  • A copy of the F-1's signed Form I-20 (necessarily only if traveling separately from the F-1)
  • An unexpired F-2 entry visa (exception: Canadian citizens are not required to obtain visas)

Tax Filing Obligations

F-2 dependents are required to file Internal Revenue Service Form 8843 every April, to reflect the time they spent in the United States in F-2 status for the previous calendar year.  For example, Form 8843 should be filed in April 2007 for the calendar year January - December 2006.

Office of International Services
Teachers College, Columbia University
Box 7, 525 W 120th Street
New York, New York 10027-6696
Phone: (212) 678-3939 ♦ ~ Fax: (212) 678-3990 ♦ Email: