How to bring your family to the US
An F-1 student can request to bring their spouse or child(ren) to the United States as F-2 dependent(s).
Adding a spouse and children dependents
Step 1: request an F-2 I-20 Accordion Closed
To receive I-20s for your dependents, you will need to submit a new I-20 form on iNAU. You will need the following documents:
- Biographical passport page for each dependent
- Copy of your marriage certificate and translation (spouse)
- Copy of birth certificate and translation (children)
- Financial documentation demonstrating proof of finances according to the amounts listed on the CIE – International Admissions website to cover all costs for yourself and any dependents
Step 2: receive new I-20s and send to dependents Accordion Closed
Once we have received your request, we will issue new I-20s for you and your dependents and you will receive an email notification when they are ready for pickup. Your dependents will need their original I-20s, so you will need to arrange for their receipt of the documents. No SEVIS I-901 fee is required for F-2 dependents.
Step 3: apply for a F-2 visa or change of status Accordion Closed
Your F-2 dependent(s) must have the original I-20 and have the following options:
- Dependents outside the US should use their new I-20 to schedule a visa appointment and apply for an F-2 visa at a US embassy or consulate abroad.
- Dependents already in the US in a valid status other than F-2, can choose to travel abroad, apply for a new visa at a US embassy or consulate, and reenter the US -or- apply for a change of status within the US.
- IMPORTANT – Dependents who do not travel and reenter or are approved for a change of status within the US do not automatically become F-2 visa holders simply by receiving an F-2 I-20 until approved for a change of status application by USCIS.
Maintaining F-2 status
An F-2 visa holder’s status is dependent on the F-1 visa holder’s status. If an F-1 student does not maintain his/her status or complete their program of study, their F-2 visa holder’s status will also end accordingly.
Employment: F-2 visa holders may not accept any type of employment under any circumstances.
Study: F-2 spouses may enroll in part-time study. At NAU, this means that an F-2 spouse can take fewer than 12 credits for undergraduate students, fewer than 9 for graduate students, and fewer than 18 clock hours/week for PIE students. Part-time study may count towards a degree.
F-2 children who attend school at the K-12 level may attend full-time.
If an F-2 visa holder wishes to take classes at NAU, they need to apply for admission. If an F-2 visa holder wishes to study full-time, they should plan to change their status to F-1.
Contact an ISSS advisor for any questions about F-2 study or status questions.
Your extended family, such as parents and uncles, are not considered F-2 dependents. If they wish to visit the United States to visit an F-1 student, they should plan to enter the US as B-1/B-2 or ESTA waiver visitors.