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F-2 Dependents

If you are studying at Texas State University with an F-1 visa status, your spouse and unmarried children (under age 21) are eligible to apply for F-2 visas.

General Details about an F-2 Dependent:

  • Holds legal immigration status as long as the F-1 visa holder maintains status, throughout the program of study and any authorized period of Optional Practical Training (OPT) after completion
  • May depart and re-enter the US with proper documentation and a travel signature from the DSO
  • May not work
  • May not be eligible for Social Security number
  • May engage in study at an SEVP-certified school in the US as long as they are enrolled in less than a full course of study
  • Should obtain an updated Form I-20 from the DSO if any information about the F-1 visa holder changes
  • May file for a Change of Status to F-1 if the adult dependent wants to study full-time

How to Apply for an F-2 Visa:

Non-immigrant statuses except C, D, J*, K, or M and those who entered the US on the Visa Waiver Program (ESTA), can apply for a change to F-2 status if the applicant has maintained lawful status and timely filed for the F-2 change of status.

*J non-immigrants holders subject to 212(e) may not change status in the US unless granted a 2-year home country physical presence requirement waiver.

The Change of Status (COS) process only changes your status, for example, the classification indicated on your I-94 record and not the visa stamp in your passport.

To receive the F-2 visa stamp in your passport, you can either:

  1. Dependents outside the US
  2. Dependents in the US
    • Request an F-2 dependent I-20.
    • Apply for a change of status in the US. Follow instructions below for in-country change of status. Once approved, travel outside of the US and apply for an F-2 visa at a US consulate in your home country to be able to return to the US as an F-2 dependent.
    • Or, travel and reenter the US. Obtain a Form I-20 from ISSS and return to your home country to apply for an F-2 visa. Schedule a visa appointment at a US embassy or consulate to reenter the US as an F-2 dependent.

International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) strongly recommends traveling outside the US with a new Form I-20 and applying for an F-2 visa in your home country. The in-country change of status application is timely and unpredictable.

Required Documents for In-country Change of Status (COS) to F-2

  1. G-1145, E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance
  2. Complete and sign Form I-539, Application to Extend Status/Change Nonimmigrant Status
  3. Complete and sign Form I-539A - required for every co-applicant included on Form I-539. Parents may sign for children under age 14. 
    • Important Update for COS requests: Every co-applicant included on the primary applicant’s Form I-539 must submit and sign a separate Form I-539A. Parents may sign on behalf of children under 14 or any co-applicant who is not mentally competent to sign. Every applicant and co-applicant must pay an $85 biometric services fee, except certain A, G, and NATO nonimmigrants as noted in the new Form I-539 Instructions. Every applicant and co-applicant will receive a biometric services appointment notice, regardless of age, containing their individual receipt number. The biometric services appointments will be scheduled at the Application Support Center (ASC) closest to the primary applicant’s address. Co-applicants who wish to be scheduled at a different ASC location should file a separate Form I-539. USCIS will reject any revised Form I-539 that is missing any of the required signatures or biometrics fees, including those required for Form I-539A.
  4. Evidence of financial support demonstrating ability to support F-2 dependents' living expenses in the US.
    • Academic assistance: assistantship, scholarships, fellowships, other awards; submit official award letter or email
    • Personal funds: bank statement or a letter on bank letterhead not older than 3 months
    • Governmental or home country scholarship: Verified with a letter from your university or supplying agency. It should also state if you are eligible for resident tuition.
  5. Immigration documents for the F-2 applicant and any additional dependent(s):
    • Color copy of unexpired Passport
    • Current Visa Stamp
    • Form I-94: Most Recent and Travel History
    • Copies of all previous I-20s (from every institution attended)
    • Copies of all F-1's I-20s at Texas State
    • Copies of previous EAD card(s), if applicable
    • Copies of all other immigration documents (e.g. DS-2019, I-20, I-797, etc.)
    • Copy of the waiver (if you were previously subject to the 212(e) Two-Year Foreign Residency Requirement while in J status), if applicable.
  6. Proof of your relationship with your F-1 spouse (copy of marriage certificate).
  7. Personal checks or money orders payable to the Department of Homeland Security for:
    1. $370.00, Form I-539 filing fee and
    2. $85.00, biometrics service fee for every applicant and co-applicant (your dependents)
  8. Copy of New F-2 Dependent I-20 - Request the Dependent I-20.

Where to File – Mailing Documents

Once you receive your new Change of Status I-20, mail your change of status application with all required documents to the appropriate USCIS Service Center.

Find the direct filing address on the USCIS Form I-539 website:

Resources for F-2 Dependents at Texas State University:

  • Albert B. Alkek Library 
    • Alkek Library Access for Visitors - click here
    • Borrowing Policy for Visitors / Non-University Borrowers
      • Visitors may borrow books from Alkek Library through the TexShare Library Card Program. Ask your local library for a TexShare card to get started. Another option is to pay a $15 per year fee at the circulation desk for borrowing privileges.
  • Student Recreation Center
    • Review information for non-student memberships: click here
      • Spouse/ Other: Spouse of a student or a child 18 years of age or older residing in the same household. Only one individual may be sponsored in this category.
      • Dependent: 16 years of age or older child residing in the same household. Adult dependents (age 16-25) of current students. 
    • See below for rates per semester and for full year:
Classification Fall Spring Summer Full Year
Spouse $ 130 $ 130 $ 130 $ 360
Dependent $ 150 $ 150 n/a $ 420


Other Resources: 

Texas State Intensive English (TSIE)

Child Development Center

International Student Health Insurance

Dining on Campus

Parking Options

Visitor WiFi


Frequently Asked Questions:

  • F-2 dependents may NOT lawfully work in the US. F-2 dependents may volunteer, as long as the position is unpaid and cannot be considered employment.

  • The validity of the F-2 visa status depends on the status of the F-1 primary visa holder. If the F-1 primary visa holder changes status or loses F-1 status, the F-2 visa holder will also lose F-2 status.

    Although F-2 dependents are not eligible to work, they must file tax Form 8843 annually. F-1 primary visa holders are eligible to use the Sprintax to prepare their US tax return, which will include Form 8843 for dependents. To file Form 8843, an F-2 dependent may need to request an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).

  • F-2 dependents are eligible for the following benefits:

    • Children
      • F-2 minors may attend kindergarten through 12th grade while accompanying an F-1 parent in the US. In fact, consistent with the compulsory education requirements of the state where the F-2 minor lives, full-time study is mandatory. The school the minor attends does not need to be SEVP-certified.
      • F-2 dependents may attend part-time post-secondary education only. F-2 dependents who engage in post-secondary part-time study must attend an SEVP-certified school, and the program of study must be in the school’s SEVP certification.
    • Spouses
      • F-2 dependents are eligible for less than full time study. Less than full time study would be below 12 hours for an undergraduate student, under 9 hours for a graduate student, or under 18 clock hours in an English Language Program. Additionally, F-2 dependents are eligible to study English.
    • Insurance
      • Health insurance is optional for F-2 dependents.
  • F-2 dependents must have a valid travel signature on their Form I-20 to return to the US after international travel. To get a travel signature, please complete ISSS Request Form and bring the ISSS Request Form and most recent Form I-20 to International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS).

    Please allow 2-3 business days for processing. 

    Review: Re-entry for F-2 Non-immigrants 

  • Yes. In fact, consistent with the compulsory education requirements of the state where the F-2 minor lives, full-time study is mandatory. The school that the minor attends does not need to be SEVP-certified.

  • No. An F-2 dependent who engages in post-secondary part-time study must attend an SEVP-certified school, and the program of study must be in the school’s SEVP certification.

  • The F-2 dependent should apply for a Change of Visa Status to F-1. The dependent should work with a DSO on this process and should not study full-time unless and until approval of the change of status.