Applicants—Dependents in F-2 Status
Study by F-2 dependents
The following are restrictions placed on F-2 status holders by U.S. Immigration Law that went into effect on January 1, 2003:
- 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.
- An F-2 spouse or F-2 child desiring to engage in full-time study, other than that allowed for a child in paragraph 1 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 F-2 child violates his or her nonimmigrant status by engaging in full-time study, except as provided in paragraph 1 or 2 of this section.
An F-2 dependent could engage in English-language study or other part-time study for "avocational or recreational" purposes. The nature of the study would have to be taken into consideration in assessing the limits of this exception. For example, even part-time study might be interpreted by USCIS as something other than "avocational or recreational" if it counts towards degree requirement, leads to a specific educational or professional objective, or if it satisfies a prerequisite.
Extension of stay for F-2 dependents
Dependents in F-2 status are permitted to stay in the United States only to the extent that the F-1 student is authorized to stay. F-2 dependents maintain their status through the F-1 student maintaining his or her status. Like F-1 students, F-2 dependents are required to keep their passports valid at least six months into the future.
Visits abroad and re-entry
An F-2 dependent leaving the United States temporarily must have the documents needed both to enter the country to be visited as well as to re-enter the United States. As in the case of the F-1 student, the F-2 dependent needs a valid passport and visa (unless exempt from passport and visa requirements), and a properly endorsed Form I-20. F-2 dependents are eligible for automatic extension of validity of visas on the same basis as F-1 students.
Departure or termination of status
A nonimmigrant holding F-2 status must terminate that status and depart from the United States "upon the termination of the status of the principal F-1 alien."