Dependents of International Students and Scholars are expected to follow all the Immigration Regulations as well as their Sponsors. F-2 dependent spouses are not permitted to pursue academic study but must switch to F-1 or J-1 status as appropriate. They may only enroll in classes when they have received an approval from USCIS.
The following immigration classifications are permitted to study, but may not lawfully accept employment while in the U.S.:
- H-4 dependents of H-1B temporary workers
- TD dependents of TN (NAFTA) workers
The following immigration classifications are permitted to study full or part-time, and may apply for employment authorization incident to their status:
- Dependents in E-2 or L-2 status
- Dependents in G-4 status
- Dependent spouses in J-2 status
The amount in the Financial Verification will change in accordance with the number of dependents (dependent spouse and dependent additional per child). When applying for a visa, make sure that your Financial Verification Letter includes the additional amount for living expenses of your dependents. See Tuition and Fees
Since December 2002, the Department of Homeland Security has not allowed F-2 spouses to attend school without having their status changed first unless they can prove to the Department of Homeland Security that they are taking classes that are considered recreational or avocational. F-2 visa holders will need to have their change to F-1 status approved before they may enroll in classes.
Since it takes the US Citizenship and Immigration Services quite some time to get this type of case approved, we advise you to apply for a change of status with USCIS well in advance of your proposed beginning date of study so that you can allow enough time for the case to be approved. Please do not wait until the last minute to submit your application to USCIS. In the event that your change of status is not approved before the semester begins, you must apply for a deferral of your admission at the Office of Admissions & Records so that your SEVIS record will be properly adjusted. Attending classes without a proper status is a violation of US immigration rule. Please pay special attention to this rule.