Dependents on F-2 Visa

The F-2 visa is a dependent visa. The spouse and minor children of an F-1 visa holder are eligible for F-2 status. Other family members, such as parents, brothers, sisters, etc. are NOT eligible; however, they may be eligible for short-term visits as B-2 or WT tourists.

Family members planning to visit for a short period of time may want to enter the U.S. as a tourist rather than on F-2 status. Be advised that it may be difficult to change the visa status from tourist to F-2 if the individual decides to remain in the U.S. on a long-term basis.

  • F-2 visa holders are not eligible for a Social Security Number but can apply for an ITIN number for income tax purposes.
  • Dependent family members will remain in legal F-2 status as long as the F-1 remains in legal status.
  • Any name changes of F-2 visa holders must be reported to the university and DHS within 10 days.

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Initial Entry into the U.S.

Newly Admitted Students

Students who plan to begin a program of study at the University of Minnesota and want to travel to Minnesota with their family should:

  • Complete the dependent information on the Financial Certification Statement. The Gradate School Financial Certification Statement is on-line and will be availble after the admission has been approved.
  • The information on the Financial Certification Statement will be used by the University to prepare both the student’s initial admit I-20 as well as dependent I-20(s).
  • The Form I-20s will be used by the student and his/her family members to secure F-1 and F-2 visas from the U.S. embassy or consulate. The U.S. post will minimally require evidence of marriage, birth certificates of children, documentary evidence of funding, and evidence of dependent’s intent to return to home country upon the completion of studies.
  • The initial admit student I-20 and the dependent I-20(s) will also be used for entry into the U.S.

Current Students

F-1 students already in the U.S. who want their spouse and/or children to join them should request to add a dependent to their I-20.

  • Student must be enrolled full-time at the University of Minnesota.
  • Dependent I-20s must cover a 12-month period.
  • Dependent expenses will be added to the amounts used in a student’s initial I-20.
  • Dependent I-20 requests made after the first semester of enrollment will be based on new information provided by the student.
  • It will take ISSS seven business days to prepare a dependent I-20.

F-2 Visa Application at U.S. Embassy/Consulate

The applicant should present:

  • All pages of the SEVIS Dependent I-20 – signed by the F-1 visa holder
  • Documentary evidence of funding resources reflected on the SEVIS Dependent I-20
  • Marriage license / birth certificate for children
  • Evidence of intent to return to home country upon the completion of the F-1’s program of study
  • Passport

Re-entry to the U.S.

F-2 dependents who plan to temporarily depart the U.S. and re-enter will need appropriate re-entry documents. The F-1 visa holder will need to request the dependent travel document by submitting the appropriate form online or by coming to ISSS Walk-In Hours.

  • F-2s will need a valid reentry signature on page 3 of the SEVIS Dependent I-20. If the information on the dependent I-20 is no longer accurate (i.e., program of study, financial information), the F-1 visa holder must request a new I-20 for him/herself and the dependent(s) that provides correct information.
  • F-2s who plan to travel to Canada or Mexico for less than 30 days are not required to have a valid entry visa stamp in their passport for re-entry into the U.S. but will need a re-entry signature on page 3 of their SEVIS Dependent I-20.
  • F-2s traveling to a country other than their home country should determine if they are required to have a tourist visa to enter that country.
  • F-2s re-entering the U.S. must be prepared to present to U.S. Inspection evidence of the funding noted on the I-20, an unofficial transcript of the F-1, and a photocopy of the EAD if the F-1 holds Optional Practical Training. This documentation is in addition to the passport, entry visa stamp, and the dependent I-20.

Note: It is unclear how the status of a dependent visa holder is affected if the dependent remains in the U.S. when the principal visa holder is temporarily absent from the U.S.


F-2 visa holders are not eligible to work in the U.S.


Children in F-2 status are able to attend public school in the U.S. 

A spouse in F-2 status is permitted to enroll in classes so long as they remain less than full-time.

F-2 visa holders are able to apply to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for a change in visa status to F-1 if they have been admitted into a program of study in the U.S. and have been issued a Form I-20. An F-2 admitted to begin a program of study will not be able to begin their studies full-time until their F-1 status has been approved.

Health Insurance Requirement

Health and hospitalization insurance must be effective for each dependent upon their arrival in the U.S.

International students are required to enroll any dependents (spouse or children) who are in the USA in F-2 or J-2 status in the Student Health Benefit Plan. Dependents are not enrolled automatically in the plan. An enrollment form should be completed and returned to the Office of Student Health Benefits within 30 days of their arrival.

Last updated: June 14, 2021