Do you have dependents, such as a spouse or unmarried children under 21 years old, and want to stay with them while you study in the United States of America? With an F2 visa, you have secured the authority to do that.
Don’t forget that those with an F1 visa are only allowed to study in the US at various levels of education, starting from elementary to graduate school. But for any reason you want your dependents, such as a spouse or unmarried children under 21 years old, to be with you, F2 dependent visa is what you need to get to allow you to bring them to the United States.
An F2 Visa is a type of visa that allows dependents of F1 student visa holders to move to the United States and live with the F-1 student. At the same time, they complete their degree programs at approved US colleges or universities. The F2 visa is directly related to the conditions that the F1 visa holder has.
Therefore, from this article, you will know what makes you eligible to qualify for F2 Visa, the necessary Visa requirements, and various steps to apply for F2 Visa.
General Eligibility for an F2 Visa
You are eligible for an F2 dependents visa if you have the following qualities:
- Be the spouse of an approved F1 visa holder.
- Or you are an unmarried child under 21 years old of an approved F1 visa holder.
- Have the financial means to support the family during your stay in the US.
- Besides these conditions, there are documents you must compile before you can begin your F2 visa application.
Documents Requirements for F2 Visa
You will need to bring the following documents as the requirements to apply for an F2 dependent visa. They are:
- Your current and previous passports.
- Photocopies of your passport pages.
- The DS-160 confirmation page.
- Proof of financial stability. You can use bank or tax records, employment pay slips, etc., as proof.
- A USA visa photograph. The photo must have been taken within the last six months.
- Interview confirmation letter.
- The receipts which prove you have paid the necessary fees.
- The DS-160 confirmation page.
- Your original Form I-20 and one copy.
- A copy of the F1 visa holder’s I-20 form.
- A copy of the F1 visa (if applicable).
- If you are applying separately, a copy of the F1 visa holder’s passport.
- Original birth certificate if you are the child of the F1 visa holder.
- Original marriage certificate if you are the spouse of the F1 visa holder.
- Genuine marriage proof such as:
- Wedding album.
- Wedding guest list.
- Receipts of wedding spending.
- Receipts of honeymoon trips.
If married at the registrar, submit the wedding affidavit and pictures of you and your spouse with the wedding witnesses.
6 Easy Ways to Apply for the F2 Visa
To make an F2 visa application, follow these six easy ways to get your application done. They are:
- Get a Form I-20.
- Fill in Form DS-160 online.
- Pay the visa fees.
- Schedule your visa interview.
- Gather and complete your F2 Visa document file.
- Attend your interview.
#1. Get a Form I-20
Getting a form 1-20 for an F2 dependents visa is the first thing to do during your application process. Because when the F1 visa holder gets accepted into a SEVP institution, the school releases a Form I-20. The form I-20 details the purpose of the visa, an estimate of expenses, and the time the educational program lasts.
So for the dependents of the F1 visa holder to get an F2 visa, the F1 person should inform the SEVP institution that the dependents also intend to apply for the visa. With this information, the SEVP institution will also compile and release a form I-20 for the dependents. Each person who wants to apply for an F2 visa must have a Form I-20 to qualify for an F2 visa. After getting this form, the application procedure follows similar procedures the F1 visa takes.
#2. Fill in Form DS-160 online
The DS-160 form is an Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application form. It is for temporary travel to the United States. Form DS-160 is filled and submitted electronically to the Department of State website via the Internet.
The DS-160 form should be submitted online with all the necessary information. When you submit it, the page will generate a barcode and confirmation page, which you need to retain for later on.
#3. Pay the visa fees
At this stage, you will pay your F2 visa application fee of $160. You must pay this fee to be able to proceed with the application. When you complete the payment, you will get a receipt as proof of payment, and you will keep it for later use. There might also be other fees depending on the country or US Embassy you are applying from, such as visa issuance fees or reciprocity fees.
Whereas the F1 visa holder is responsible for this payment and pays the end of the SEVIS I-901 fee, the F2 visa applicant is exempt from this fee.
#4. Schedule your visa interview
As an F2 applicant, you can apply at the same time as the F1 applicant, or you can apply separately. If you are applying together, you can schedule the visa interview simultaneously. This procedure is recommended. However, you must schedule your visa interview if you are applying separately. When scheduled, you will get an interview confirmation letter which you will show to the officers at the US Embassy to prove you have an appointment.
#5. Gather and complete your F2 Visa document file
You need a file with the required documents when you go for your visa interview. Ensure the file is complete and no crucial documents are missing because your application depends on it.
#6. Attend your interview
Go to your visa interview on time with all the necessary documents. You will have questions regarding your relationship with the F1 visa holder and your intentions for being in the US. If the visa interviewer suspects that you are hiding something or that you intend to violate F2 visa rules, they will deny your visa.
Processing time for the F2 Visa
Good to know that processing times vary for visas due to the differences and workloads in US Embassies. After your F2 interview, you might get a response immediately from your interviewer on whether you got the visa or you were denied.
However, it is more common to wait a few days or weeks. This is because the US Embassy will take time to review your documents and responses. They will mainly focus on you and the F1 visa holder’s financial situation to determine whether you can cover your expenses while in the US.
So if your F2 visa processing is taking too long, do not worry, as the US Embassy has a heavy workload or is taking its time to analyze your case.
Things You Can Do With an F2 Visa
There are things you can do since the F2 visa is directly related to the F1 visa and will have the same validity. For example, if your spouse on an F1 visa is allowed to stay in the US for two years, your F2 visa will also have a validity of two years. So, during the years of your stay, you can do the following:
#1. Extend your stay
F2 Visa holders can extend their stay only when the F1 visa holder extends their stay by getting a new Form I-20. Then, you, as their dependent, will also get a renewal. To get your F2 visa renewed, you should file Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. In addition, you should attach proof of your relationship with the primary F1 visa holder and financial evidence that you have enough funds to cover your stay.
#2. Change your status
With an F2 visa, you can also apply to change your status. For example, if you enroll in an academic degree with a SEVP-approved institution, you will have to apply for an F1 visa, and you might get a change of status. In addition, if you find a job requiring an H-type work visa, such as an H-1B visa, you and your employer can petition USCIS and follow the appropriate procedures to change your status.
Moreover, suppose you are an unmarried child under 21 years old or an F1 visa holder and turn 21 while in the US. In that case, you will have to apply for a different visa to remain in the US. This is because you will no longer qualify as the dependent of the F1 visa holder and will have to return to your home country if you do not get a different type of US visa.
#3. Get a green card
When the F1 visa holder applies and gets a Green Card, you, as their dependent on an F2 visa, automatically get the Green Card too. However, you can also try to apply yourself. For example, if you find an employer willing to sponsor you, you can file for an Employment-Based Green Card. Otherwise, you could also change your status to a different visa, allowing dual intent and applying for the Green Card.
#4. Have access to healthcare
Another thing you can do with your F2 visa has healthcare access. You can access American hospitals and medical facilities as an F2 visa holder, but having a health insurance plan as an F2 visa holder will be very good. However, the cost of treatment may be unbearable for you, as US healthcare costs are the highest in the world. They range from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. A simple service such as a night at the hospital may cost more than $3000.
Thus, you are strongly advised to purchase a health insurance plan for F2 visa holders.
What are the Limitations of the F2 Visa?
There are certain restrictions on an F2 visa because this is a dependent visa with a specific purpose. The purpose of the F2 visa is for families to remain together while the person with the F1 visa gets their educational degree, which can be for several years. It has no other purpose, which is why these are the limitations of having an F2 visa. So the following are some of the limitations:
#1. You are not allowed to work on an F2 visa
There are no F2 visa work permits. This is because your F1 spouse or parent has proved they can afford to cover your living expenses in the US, so there are no forms of paid employment you can take up within the US. You can volunteer or do unpaid work. Still, you are not allowed to get into any employment agreement.
#2. You are not allowed to get a Social Security Number (SSN)
Since you are not allowed to work, you cannot get an SSN either. You are only eligible to get an ITIN number for tax purposes.
#3. You are not allowed to enroll in a full educational degree
The F2 visa does not allow you to enroll in a degree or credit-bearing education. So you cannot complete a Bachelor’s or a Master’s Degree with this visa. You can only enroll in recreational, vocational, and non-credit-bearing courses for hobbies or fun.
In addition, if you are a child dependent of an F1 visa holder, you are only allowed to complete elementary and middle school in the USA. Therefore, you will not be permitted to enroll in high school on an F2 visa. To do so, you will need to apply for a status change.
#4. You cannot travel to the US before the F1 visa holder
If you are entering the US for the first time, you must either be accompanied by the F1 visa holder or travel after them. You cannot travel to the US before the F1 visa holder has been allowed entry into the country.
However, there are no other travel restrictions after you enter the US for the first time. You can travel in and out of the country anytime without being accompanied by the F1 visa holder.
Who is eligible for an F2 visa?
To be eligible for an F2 visa, you must fulfill the following criteria:
1. Be the spouse of an approved F1 visa holder.
2. Be the unmarried child under 21 years old of an approved F1 visa holder.
3. Have the financial means to support the family during your stay in the US.
How long can I stay in the US on an F-2 visa?
You may remain in the US as long as the principal F-1 visa holder maintains valid status. You lose your status once the principal applicant loses F-1 status.
Can I work in the USA with an F2 visa?
Suppose you are in the United States on an F-2 Visa. The family depends on an academic student on an F-1 Visa. Then you might get bored. Your current visa status does not allow you to work in the United States.
How is an F2 visa different from an F-1?
The F visa is classified into F1 and F2 visas. Nonimmigrant students use F1 visas for academic and language training courses. The dependents of F1 visa holders use the F2 visas. In addition, spouses and unmarried minor children are said to be the dependents of the F1 visa holder.
How long is the F2 visa valid?
Valid F-2 visa in passport (except dependents from Canada). F-2 dependent I-20 with a valid travel signature from OIS on page 3 (signatures are valid for six months).
Can an F2 visa be changed to H-1B?
As a nonimmigrant permit, the F-2 visa cannot be used as a stepping stone to permanent residency. In addition, it does not automatically allow holders to take up employment in the US. However, it is possible to change status, including an H1-b visa, to work legally.
Can F2 apply for a work permit?
There are restrictions on F-2 dependent visa holders regarding this. For example, F-2 visa holders usually can’t work with their visas since they can’t usually obtain a work permit. They can, however, engage in unpaid voluntary work. In addition, without a work permit, the F-2 visa holder also won’t be able to get a Social Security Number.
Get your F2 visa today and enjoy your stay in the United States of America with your spouse and relatives. So with this article, you can now understand the most straightforward procedure to obtain your F2 visa. However, don’t forget to contact us at workstudyvisa.com if need be.