Your F-2 lawful status is the official U.S. government designation and authorization of your stay in the U.S. as a non-immigrant dependent of an F-1 student. Your status is dependent upon and in effect for the duration of your F-1 principal visa holder.
Before leaving the port of entry, check to make sure this information has been entered in your documents.
Your status is designated by the Customs and Border Patrol officer who reviews your visa and other documents at your port of entry, and upon your admittance, writes your lawful immigration status and the length of time you may remain in the U.S. on your Form I-94 and Form I-20. You will probably have “D/S” (as a student) as the length of stay which means “duration of status” or until the program completion date noted on your Form I-20—providing you continue to maintain the requirements of your status. In most instances, your visa category and immigration status will be the same, F-2, unless you change your lawful status after entering the U.S. For example, you may change from F-2 to F-1. Immigration matters are the responsibility of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
F-2 Status Requirement
Under U.S. immigration law and realizing that your status is dependent upon and in effect for the duration of your F-1 principal status holder, it is your responsibility to maintain F-2 lawful dependent status. Begin by reading the “Instructions to Students” on page 2 of your Form I-20; then carefully follow them and the information below:
- Have a valid passport at all times.
- Check in with the school listed on your current Form I-20.
- Do not enroll in a full-time course of studies on campus; however, you may enroll in part-time study that is a vocational or recreational in nature after receiving authorization from International Services.
- Keep your Form I-20 valid and accurate by following the proper procedures when your F-1 principal extends program or transfers from one program to another (e.g., ESL to regular school)
- Follow the grace period rules governing admittance to the U.S. no more than 30 days before your F-1 spouse’s program start date and those pertaining to your remaining in the U.S. for up to 60 days beyond your F-1 spouse’s program completion date or any authorized practical training.
- Abide by rules requiring disclosure of information and prohibition on criminal activity.
- Do not accept employment or engage in business under any circumstances.
As an F-2 dependent you may not engage in employment or business under any circumstances.
Failure to observe this requirement will place you out of status. Also, employers may be cited, fined, and/or imprisoned for hiring persons ineligible for employment or maintaining employees who are no longer authorized to be employed.
Travel information for F-2 dependents can be found on the Travel Information: F Students page.