If you wish to bring family members for the duration of your studies, they will have to enter the US as F-2 or J-2 dependents. If you're a newly admitted student, and you want to bring family with you right away, you can add your family members' information to your I-20 or DS-2019 Application available from our Get a US Visa page. You won't need to do the things listed on this page unless you're already in the US, and you wish to bring family members after you've arrived.
Things to Know
Financial and Health Insurance Requirements
If your spouse will accompany you to the US, you must document an additional US$10,800 per year for living expenses and insurance. An additional US$5,400 per year is required for each child. US federal law requires the J-2 spouse and children to have adequate health insurance coverage. F-1 students are also expected to obtain comprehensive health insurance for dependents.
If your spouse or child plan to only remain in the US for a short visit, please review the instructions on bringing a family member as a visitor to the US.
Extended Stays outside the US
If you as the F-1 or J-1 student plan to be outside the US for an extended period of time (for example, doing research for 30 days or longer), your F-2 or J-2 dependent cannot remain in the US for this time as an F-2 or J-2 spouse. Their status is dependent on your status in the US.
How to Apply for F-2 or J-2 Status for Your Spouse and/or Children
Start by compiling the following documents and information:
- A scanned copy of your family member's biography and photo passport page
- A scanned copy of financial documentation that indicates you are able to support your spouse and/or child(ren) while they are in the US. If you have a bank statement in your name that shows the minimum required amount ($10,800 for a spouse per year, $5,400 per child per year) that is dated from the last six months, you only need a copy of this bank statement. If the bank statement is not in your name, you will also need to provide a signed financial support agreement by the person whose name is on the bank statement.
Complete the add a dependent request form.
You'll need all the documents and information we've listed above in order to successfully complete the add a dependent request. You will also need to submit a separate request form for each dependent you wish you add. For example, if you would like to get dependent status for both a spouse and a child, you will need to submit two separate add a dependent request forms.
Receive your new documents from the OGS.
Within five business days of receiving your complete request, we will issue you and your dependent(s) new documents. Once your documents are ready we will email you to confirm they are ready and provide further instructions on getting the needed visa for your dependent.
Have your dependent apply for F-2/J-2 status.
If your spouse and/or child(ren) is not yet in the US, they will need to apply for an F-2 visa if you are in F-1 status or a J-2 visa if you are in J-1 status. They will need to apply for this visa in their home country.
If your spouse and/or child(ren) is currently in the US in another immigration status, they will either need to depart the US to then apply for a new visa at a US consulate outside of the US or apply to change their status in the US.
If you have any questions on this step, be sure to speak with an advisor during our advising hours.