Individuals who hold their own primary visa status may be eligible to change to F-2 visa status if married to a person in valid F-1 status, or a child under the age of 21 who has a parent in valid F-1 status. This process will go through the F-1 student's status or through the F-1 student's school. If the F-1 is a student at another school, then this process will have to be discussed with that school's International Office.
A change of status to F-2 can be filed to the USCIS with the assistance of the UT International Office. Processing times can take many months so plan early. Your dependent must maintain their underlying status until their Change of Status to F-2 is approved.
Filing a Change of Status by Application
Bring the following to your schedule appointment with an international student advisor as the International Office:
- Passport, visa, Form I-94 and any other documents verifying your current status (e.g. I-797, DS-2019, I- 20, EAD cards, SEVIS Fee receipt).
- A letter written to USCIS explaining why you are requesting a change to F-2 status (e.g. that you will soon complete your program and wish to stay in the U.S. to accompany your F-1 spouse, or that you have a work visa status and wish to change to a dependent of your spouse’s). The letter should include your brief immigration history (how you originally came to the US and whether you have changed status before).
- Evidence of financial support that is equal to or more than the amount that will appear on the primary visa holder’s (F-1) I-20. Examples include a student’s bank statement, a sponsor’s bank statement accompanied by a letter from the sponsor accepting financial responsibility for the student, a letter of appointment (for TA’s, GA’s, etc.) detailing the financial award, or a combination of any of the above.
- Form I-539
- If you are currently a student, obtain a transcript or enrollment letter.
- If changing from H-1B or L-1 status, obtain a letter verifying current employment and pay stubs for the last three months of employment.
- You will also need copies of the principal visa holder’s F-1 documentation including passport, visa, Form I-94 and any other type of immigration form (e.g. I-20, DS-2019, I-797, etc.). Additional documents that may be required include marriage certificate (if dependent spouse) or birth certificate (if dependent child) as well as:
- Transcript of F-1 student.
- Receipt showing payment of the SEVIS Fee.
- Check or money order made out to “Department of Homeland Security” for $370.00.
- Form I-20 (provided by ISSS).
We will review your application and then you will submit it to USCIS. Processing time can take up to 6-12 ;months or more depending on USCIS processing times. We will contact you when the documents have been returned to our office.
Change of Status to F-2 by travel
Please schedule an advising appointment with the International Office and bring:
- Passport of spouse or child
- Evidence of financial support that is equal to or more than the amount that will appear on the primary visa holder's (F-1) I-20. Examples include a student's bank statement, a sponsor's bank statement accompanied by a letter form the sponsor accepting financial responsibility for the student, a letter of appointment (for TA's, GA's, etc.) detailing the financial award, or a combination of any of the above. This must be from within the last year and must also include enough support for the F-1 dependent.
- New I-20s will be issued for both the F-1 and F-2. The original F-2 I-20 must then be used to request an F-2 visa outside the U.S. at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate office.** The F-2 should take copies of the F-1 documents in support of getting the F-2 visa (if not going to be with the F-1 student as the time of visa application). Additional documents that may be required include marriage certificate (if dependent spouse) or birth certificate (if dependent child).
- The dependent will then use the F-2 visa to enter the U.S. along with the F-2 I-20 and a valid passport.
- The status is not changed until the dependent has reentered the United States with the F-2 I-20 and an F-2 visa.** Please note that Canadian Citizens are not required to have an F-2 visa stamp in their passport.
- After returning to the United States in F-2 status, please review and print the I-94 information. The new I-94 record must indicate the status as F-2 with the admit until date showing as D/S.
A note about traveling to Canada or Mexico. Be sure that upon return to the United Stated, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspection officer gives the F-2 dependent a new I-94 record to indicate the new F-2 status. If the F-2 is not given a new I-94 record that indicates F-2 status, they will be required to travel again to obtain the proper status.
**Canadian Citizens are not required to have an F-2 visa stamp in their passport.