The spouse and unmarried minor (under 21) children of and F-1 (student) or J-1 (exchange visitor) may accompany the student or exchange visitor to the United States or follow at a later date. The dependent family members will be admitted in F-2 or J-2 status.
To qualify for eligibility the spouse or unmarried minor child must establish to the satisfaction of the consular officer and the immigration officer at the port of entry that:
- He or she is the spouse (marriage license) or child (birth certificate) of the F-1 / J-1 principal
- He or she has sufficient funds to cover his/her expenses, or that other arrangements have been made to provide for such expenses once in the United States
- He or she intends to leave the United States upon the termination of the status of the principal F-1 / J-1 (student or exchange visitor)
- If the dependents are following to join the principal, “the F-1 / J-1 is, or will be within 30 days, enrolled in a full course of study or engaged in approved practical / academic training following completion of studies
Each dependent will be issued his / her own visa documents, but the status of the dependents is always based upon the status of the principal. The process of visa acquisition and port of entry procedures is similar for both principals and dependents. F-2 dependents may not accept employment nor engage in full-time (post-secondary) study. J-2 dependents are permitted to apply for an Employment Authorization Document, but employment may not be used to support the J-1 principal.
If you are interested in having your spouse and / or children accompany you to the United States or join you after you arrive, please communicate this to the appropriate UIS official before your own immigration documents are issued.