Legal dependents (spouse and children) of international students or employees in F-1 nonimmigrant status may enter the U.S. as F-2 visa holders. Their stay in the U.S. is completely dependent on that of the principal alien. If the F-1 student leaves the country for an extended vacation term, the F-2 must leave as well.

Financial Requirements

In order to bring dependents to the U.S., the F-1 student must show evidence of financial resources sufficient to support his/her spouse and/or children.

  • Dartmouth College requires evidence of a bank account with about U.S. $5000 for your spouse and U.S. $3500 for each child you wish to bring to the United States.
  • The State Department Officer at the U.S. consulate where your family will apply for their visas will also require evidence of financial support. They may have different standards you will have to meet.

Adding a Dependent

Complete the Request to add a Dependent form in iDartmouth. You are required to submit:

  • Evidence of additional funding (no more than 90 days old)
  • Current Form I-20 or DS-2019
  • Current passport
  • Most recent I-94 record
  • F-1 Students: Letter of support from their academic advisor, if an F-1 student has been in their program fewer than nine months. This letter should state that the student is adjusting well to the academic workload and that the advisor is not concerned that bringing a family member to the U.S. might adversely affect the student's academic success.

Allow OVIS 1-2 weeks to issue the new I-20 (F-2) or DS-2019 (J-2) for your spouse and/or children to apply for an F-2/J-2 visa and enter the United States

Dependents Studying in the U.S.


F-2 dependent spouses are allowed to participate in part-time study in courses offered by an SEVP-certified school. F-2 dependent spouses may also engage in recreational or avocational study. F-2 dependents are not eligible to engage in any employment, including practical training.

If a dependent is accepted into a full-time program of study, OVIS strongly recommends applying for a change of status to an appropriate student visa (such as the F-1).


F-2 children may attend elementary and secondary school.


Dependents in F-2 status may not accept employment in the United States. An F-2 dependent may only work in a paid position if they apply for, and receive, a change of status to an appropriate visa that allows for employment.

If an F-2 dependent would like to volunteer, please contact OVIS for more information.


If traveling outside and re-entering the U.S., F-2 dependents need valid passports, valid F-2 visas, and a Form I-20. The dependent’s Form I-20 must have a travel signature on the form no older than 12 months.

If the principal and/or dependents will be traveling to Canada, Mexico, or the adjacent islands (such as the Caribbean islands) for a visit of less than 30 days, and their visas have expired, they will be allowed to re-enter the U.S. using those expired visas due to Automatic Revalidation.

Your U.S. visa will not be valid to let you enter Canada. Citizens of certain countries are required to have a visa to enter Canada, while others are not.