Skip to Top NavigationSkip to Utility NavigationSkip to SearchSkip to Left NavigationSkip to Content
Mobile Menu

F-2 Dependent Status

The spouse and unmarried minor children of a student holding an F-1 visa may accompany the student to the United States or follow to join the student at a later date. They will be accorded F-2 status provided they establish to the satisfaction of a consular official (and later to a U.S. port of entry officer) that (a) they have sufficient funds to cover their expenses while in the U.S., or, that other arrangements have been made to provide for their expenses, and (b) they intend to, and will be able to depart from the U.S., upon the termination of the status of the principal alien (F-1 student).

Obtaining a Visa

An F-1 student's spouse/children must apply for an F-2 visa at a U.S. consulate or embassy (unless exempt from visa and passport requirements). The applicant must present to the consular official an I-20 AB form issued in their name and any other documents that may be required to demonstrate eligibility for F-2 status. These documents may include such items as marriage and birth certificates, financial statements of support, and proof that the applicant will return to his or her home country of residence following the termination of the principal alien's course of study.

University Requirements to Obtain an I-20 AB form for an F-2 Visa

F-1 students who wish to bring their spouse or minor children to the U.S. must meet certain University of Hartford requirements before an I-20 AB form may be issued:

  1. Clearance from the student's home government, international organization, or U.S. agency which provides financial support to the student, if applicable or;

  2. Satisfactory evidence of financial support. This evidence may be presented to the International Center in the form of (a) an official statement of savings on deposit in a U.S. bank, (b) a certified guarantee from a sponsor living in the U.S., including bank statements showing that funds are available, (c) an official document from the student's home government or sponsoring agency authorizing currency exchange for dependents, (d) personal or family financial support documents or, (e) a combination of the above.

  3. Marriage and/or birth certificates (translated in English) as applicable

  4. A copy of the dependents passport (identification page with photo)

The International Center will determine whether the documentation meets the financial requirements of the University in order to issue an I-20 AB for an F-2 visa. Students should consult with the International Center regarding current requirements.

On arrival to the University, the student and dependent(s) are required to meet with a staff member of the International Center to insure that the immigration documents of the dependent are in order.


Individuals holding F-2 dependent student status may not accept full or part-time employment, or engage in business activities under any circumstances while in the U.S. Employment cannot be authorized for either on-campus or off-campus work. Dependents in F-2 status, discovered to be working on or off campus by the USCIS, may be subject to removal from the U.S.

Visits Abroad and Re-entry to the U.S.

An F-2 dependent leaving the U.S. temporarily must be certain to carry the documents necessary to enter the country being visited and to re-enter the U.S. F-2 dependents should have in their possession (a) a valid passport and visa, (b) a properly endorsed I-20 form with a current signature from the International Center. Dependents should contact the International Center to discuss their travel arrangements and to insure that their travel documents are in order.

Extension of Stay

It is not necessary for an F-2 spouse or minor children to apply for an extension of stay, unless the duration of stay for the F-1 student has expired. An F-2 spouse and minor children are included in the F-1 student's request for extension of stay made to the USCIS. The approval of an F-2 extension will be made at the time of the F-1 approval and should be valid for the duration of stay given to the F-1 student.

School Attendance

An F-2 dependent may enroll in a program of study only on a part-time, non-matriculated basis; they may not enroll in a program which leads to the attainment of a degree. Study must be vocational or recreational in nature. Vocational or recreational means study that is incident to your status and is occasional or casual for the purpose of pursuing a hobby or interest, such as an English language course or a pottery class.  Any full time study, even if recreational in nature, is prohibited and is a violation of your status. Even part time study that counts towards a degree requirement, leads to a specific educational or professional objective, or satisfies a prerequisite would not be incident to your status and is considered a status violation.

Dependents may remain in a course of study as long as the F-1 principal alien continues to maintain legal F-1 status. If the F-2 dependent wishes to continue studies beyond the expiration of the F-1 student's status, the F-2 dependent must apply for a change of status from F-2 to F-1 or to another legal status which allows educational studies. An F-2 dependent who wishes to enroll in a course of study as a full-time student must change their status to F-1.

An F-1 student should seek approval from the International Center prior to enrolling their F-2 dependent in any course of study at the University of Hartford.

A child dependent(s) of an F-1 student may only attend an elementary or secondary school on a full-time basis. They are prohibited from attending higher education programs and must apply for an F-1, J-1, or M-1 visa to do so.

Departure or Termination of Status

The status of an F-2 dependent is terminated upon the completion of the F-1 student's program. An F-2 dependent is expected to leave the U.S. no later than the departure date of the F-1 student. F-2 dependents may remain in the U.S. with their