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Dependents are defined as a spouse and/or unmarried children under the age of 21.

Dependents in F-2 or J-2 status must have their own Form I-20 or Form DS-2019. Students who wish to bring their dependents to the U.S. must apply for a certificate of eligibility (Form I-20 or DS-2019) by showing proof of financial support for the dependent’s living expenses.

Students most often request dependent documents upon initial entry to their program by providing their dependent’s information on the Financial Certificate before arrival. Students already in the U.S. in F-1 or J-1 status may request dependent Forms I-20 or DS-2019 by completing an F-2 or J-2 Dependent Request Form.

Maintaining F-2 or J-2 Status


Status Certificate of Eligibility Study Work
F-2 Spouse Form I-20 Part-Time No
F-2 Child Form I-20 Full-time for children K-12 No
J-2 Spouse or Child Form DS-2019 Full-Time Yes, with valid EAD issued by USCIS

Dependents in F-2 immigration status are not allowed to work but may study part-time in the U.S.

Dependents in J-2 immigration status are allowed to apply for employment authorization through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) by completing the I-765 form available on their website. J-2 dependents must receive the Employment Authorization Document (EAD Card) before beginning employment in the U.S. which can take 3-4 months to process.

Family members not eligible for dependent status

Students wishing to invite family members who are not eligible for dependent status should see information on inviting a family member to visit.  ISSS cannot issue invitation letters to assist with family members’ visa application and/or entry to the U.S.