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F-2 Dependents

Only the spouse and unmarried minor children (under 21 years old) of an F-1 student are eligible to enter the United States in F-2 dependent status.  Each dependent must receive their own I-20 if they wish to obtain an F-2 visa and enter the U.S. in F-2 status.

Conditions of F-2 Status
F-2 dependents may remain lawfully in the U.S. as long as the F-1 student is maintaining F-1 status.  However, dependents may not accept employment in the U.S.  The F-2 spouse may not engage in full time study, and an F-2 child may only engage in full time study if the study is in an elementary or secondary school (kindergarten through twelfth grade).  F-2 dependents may engage in study that is avocational or recreational in nature (e.g. one English course or a sports or music/art class).

Requesting an I-20 for a Dependent
If your dependents have not already been issued their own I-20 documents and you wish to bring them to the U.S. in F-2 status, you must request a new I-20 for each F-2 dependent.

Entering the U.S. in F-2 Status
Dependents are eligible for admission to the United States in F-2 status when they either accompany the F-1 student into the U.S., or wish join the F-1 student who has already been admitted into the U.S. in F-1 status.  Dependents must each present a valid I-20, a valid F-2 visa (except citizens of Canada) and a passport that is valid at least 6 months from the date of entry.

Changing Dependents to F-2 Status When They Are Already in the U.S.
If you are a Boston University F-1 student and your dependents are already present in the U.S. in another non-immigrant status, the ISSO will assist you to change your dependents to F-2 status.  However, if they have imminent plans to travel out of the U.S. before their current nonimmigrant status expires, they can follow the above instructions for "Entering the U.S. in F-2 Status."

Extension of Stay for F-2 Dependents
An F-2 dependent's permission to remain in the U.S. is automatically extended when the F-1 student is approved for a Program Extension or for Optional Practical Training following their completion of studies.

Other Family Members
If other members of an F-1 student's family, including children over the age of 21, wish to enter the U.S. temporarily to visit the student in the U.S., they may enter on a B-2 tourist visa.  Boston University F-1 students may request a letter of invitation from the ISSO to send to a relative to assist them with applying for a B-2 visa.


Boston University
February 28, 2005

Boston University International Students & Scholars Office