Wondering if you can work or study in the US if you’re here as a spouse to an NYU international student or scholar?


Spouses in J-2 status are permitted to study during their time in the US. You may wish to enroll in courses at NYU or elsewhere. In the past, international spouses and partners have explored non-degree studies at the NYU School of Professional Studies. There are many other programs and courses of study at NYU as well.

Spouses in F-2 status are only permitted to study in

  • less than a full course of study that may lead to a degree, and/or
  • recreational or hobby courses.

If the F-2 dependent wishes to pursue full-time study in a degree-granting program, they must first apply for and obtain a change of status to F-1 or J-1. F-2 children may engage in full-time study at the K-12 level.

English Language Practice and Classes

Below is a list of some options at NYU, and other options throughout the city. Some are free, but others do require tuition fees. There are countless language schools in New York, so you may wish to search on your own if none of the below will suit your needs. 


Usually spouses and partners must pay a fee for reading and/or borrowing privileges at NYU Bobst Library. Contact the Bobst Library for more information. We also strongly suggest using the network of public libraries in NYC. The New York Public Library has many locations throughout the city. Anyone living or working in New York State is eligible to receive a free New York Public Library card. The Brooklyn Public Library and the Queens Public Library are also free and available to anyone living or working in New York State. Public libraries often offer family-friendly events and programs.


Spouses in J-2 status must receive employment authorization through the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before you are permitted to work. Please review the OGS information page on applying for J-2 employment authorization. While this is a personal application that must be submitted directly to the USCIS, OGS can provide general guidance.  If you are the spouse of an international student, contact us at ogs@nyu.edu.

Spouses in F-2 status may not accept employment under any circumstances.

Volunteering and Community Engagement

Many organizations offer opportunities for community engagement throughout the city, or can help you find an opportunity that matches your interests. Here is a short list of some organizations that specialize in volunteering and community engagement: