The spouse or child(ren) of an F-1 visa holder may accompany the F-1 student to the U.S. under certain provisions. Each dependent must have his/her own I-20 and apply for his/her own F-2 visa. Additional financial support must be shown for each dependent for each year of the student’s study. Documentation of an additional $4000 for a spouse, and $2000 for each child must be demonstrated in order to receive the I-20 for each dependent.
If the dependents are not traveling with the F-1 visa holder right away, they can receive their I-20s at a later date.
There are special rules for F-2 visa holders. As of September 29th, 2008:8 CFR 214.2(f)(1)(3) Admission of the spouse and minor children of an F-1 student . The spouse and minor children accompanying an F-1 student are eligible for admission in F-2 status if the student is admitted in F-1 status. The spouse and minor children following-to-join an F-1 student are eligible for admission to the United States in F-2 status if they are able to demonstrate that the F-1 student has been admitted and is, or will be within 30 days, enrolled in a full course of study, or engaged in approved practical training following completion of studies. In either case, at the time they seek admission, the eligible spouse and minor children of an F-1 student with a SEVIS Form I-20 must individually present an original SEVIS Form I-20 issued in the name of each F-2 dependent issued by a school authorized by the Service for attendance by F-1 foreign students. Prior to August 1, 2003, if exigent circumstances are demonstrated, the Service will allow the dependent of an F-1 student in possession of a SEVIS Form I-20 to enter the United States using a copy of the F-1 student's SEVIS Form I-20. (In the alternative, for dependents seeking admission to the United States prior to August 1, 2003, a copy of the F-1 student's current Form I-20ID issued prior to January 30, 2003, with proper endorsement by the DSO will satisfy this requirement.) A new SEVIS Form I-20 (or Form I-20A-B) is required for a dependent where there has been any substantive change in the F-1 student's current information. (Revised effective 1/1/03; 67 FR 76256 )
8 CFR 213.2(f)(15)(15) Spouse and children of F-1 student . The F-2 spouse and minor children of an F-1 student shall each be issued an individual SEVIS Form I-20 in accordance with the provisions of § 214.3(k) . (Revised effective 1/1/03; 67 FR 76256 )
(i) Employment . The F-2 spouse and children of an F-1 student may not accept employment.
(ii) Study . (A) The F-2 spouse of an F-1 student may not engage in full time study, and the F-2 child may only engage in full time study if the study is in an elementary or secondary school (kindergarten through twelfth grade). The F-2 spouse and child may engage in study that is avocational or recreational in nature.
(B) An F-2 spouse or F-2 child desiring to engage in full time study, other than that allowed for a child in paragraph (f)(15)(ii)(A) of this section, must apply for and obtain a change of nonimmigrant classification to F-1, J-1, or M-1 status. An F-2 spouse or child who was enrolled on a full time basis prior to January 1, 2003, will be allowed to continue study but must file for a change of nonimmigrant classification to F-1, J-1, or M-1 status on or before March 11, 2003.
(C) An F-2 spouse or F-2 child violates his or her nonimmigrant status by engaging in full time study except as provided in paragraph (f)(15)(ii)(A) or (B) of this section.
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