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Bringing your Family

Bringing your Family

If you intend to bring your family with you to the United States, they will enter as your dependents. The information below will help you determine 1) if your family member is eligible to be a dependent and 2) what procedures to follow.


Dependents are defined as spouses or unmarried children. No other family member may be considered a dependent. Please be aware that dependents:

  • may remain lawfully in the U.S. only as long as the F-1 student is maintaining status
  • may not accept employment in the U.S.
  • may not engage in full time study. F-2 spouses and children will be allowed to enroll in less than a "full course of study" at an SEVP-certified school without violating their status, even if that part-time study eventually leads to a degree or certificate.

If your dependent is a child, please be aware that s/he:

  • may only engage in full time study if the study is in an elementary or secondary school (kindergarten through twelfth grade).
  • must be unmarried and under 21 years of age.

You must demonstrate the ability to support your dependents by providing proof of additional funding in addition to the funds used to cover your tuition, fees, and living expenses. This amount must be shown regardless of the length of time your dependent(s) will stay in the U.S.


  1. Submit the ISSS request form and financial documentation, dependent's passport and birth and/or marriage certificate to
  2. ISSS will review your request and if eligible create I-20s for eligible dependents.
  3. You will be notified by e-mail when this process is complete and your I-20s are ready to be issued.

Frequently asked questions

My family member is not eligible to be my dependent. What can I do if they still want to visit?
If you would like to invite family members or friends to visit you for a short period while you are studying in the United States, ISSS can provide a letter of support for a tourist visa. This letter is not a guarantee that they will obtain a visa.

When can my dependent enter the U.S.?
If the dependent is following to join you (i.e. coming after you start your program), s/he can only enter if you are enrolled in a full course of study or engaged in approved practical training following completion of studies.


International Student and Scholar Services

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