F-2 Dependents

F-2 Dependents


In order to qualify for F-2 status, the spouse and/or unmarried, minor (under age 21) children of an F-1 student must demonstrate that:

  • He or she is the spouse, as evidenced by a marriage certificate or the child, as evidenced by a birth cetificate of the F-1 student. 
  • He or she has the necessary funds to cover his or her living expenses or that funding is available to cover such expenses upon etering the U.S. 
  • He or she will be accompanying or following to join the F-1 student.
  • He or she intends to depart the U.S. upon termination of the F-1's status.

Teachers College will issue separate I-20 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 OISS must receive evidence that you have adequate financial resources to support the living expenses for your dependent(s). Information about financial requirements are on the Add a New Dependent.  

You can complete the Add a New Dependent  via the TC-Compass platform and submit it along with the required financial documentation to the OISS. The OISS will process an I-20 for dependent(s) as appropriate.

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 OISS (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 2019 for the calendar year January - December 2018.

Back to skip to quick links