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!
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 2-5 months or more depending on USCIS processing times. We will contact you when the documents have been returned to our office. Please note that application from H1-B or L-1 status are advised to terminate current employment only after the change of status application has been receipted by USCIS and that all work must end by the F-2 approval date.
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.