Dependents of International Students

Dependents of an F-1

A spouse or dependent child of an F-1 is given the status of F-2. The F-2’s status is dependent upon the F-1; thus, if the F-1 is not in status or maintaining their status, the F-2’s status is no longer valid. Both, the F-1 and the F-2(s) will be accruing unlawful presence if a status violation occurs.

An F-2 may not be employed while in the U.S. As of May 29, 2015, an F-2 may enroll in courses on a part-time basis and even pursue a degree program, but an F-2 spouse cannot at any time enroll full-time while on the F-2 visa. Children on an F-2 visa are allowed to study full-time at the elementary, middle school and high school level, but are not allowed to study full-time at the college level while on the F-2 visa. An F-2 who is considering studying full-time at Washington University, or at another college or university, will need to obtain the F-1 visa status prior to enrolling full-time. If your dependent is interested in studying full-time at Washington University, he or she should contact the Office for International Students and Scholars to discuss.

To obtain an I‑20 to bring dependents to the U.S., a student must provide documentation of sufficient financial resources to cover the expenses of the dependents, in addition to the student’s own expenses. Each dependent will have his or her own I-20, which also includes the name of the F-1 student.

It is critical that all F-2 dependents be covered by health insurance. Health insurance can be purchased in advance. Learn more about health care and insurance for international students.

Dependents of a J-1

The dependent spouse or child of a J‑1 is classified as a J‑2. The J‑2 may join the J‑1, provided that financial documentation has been provided to show ability to support the J‑2(s). If sufficient finances have been shown, a DS-2019 will be provided for each family member to join the student. J‑2 dependents are eligible to apply for permission to work from the DHS. The J‑2 may only be employed if the income from employment is not being used to support the J‑1.

J‑1 exchange visitors and dependents are required by regulations to have health insurance which meets certain specifications. Students who are included in the WashU health plan have the necessary coverage. An exchange visitor, J-1 or J-2, who willfully fails to maintain insurance coverage may be terminated from the J‑1 program and will no longer be in legal J‑1 status, thus accruing unlawful presence. For more information, please visit the Health Care and Insurance section of this website.