F-2 Dependent Status for Spouses and Children

The spouse and unmarried minor children (under 21 years of age) of the F-1 student are eligible for F-2 dependent status.

  • How can I become an F-2 Dependent?
  • Each F-2 dependent must have his/her own Form I-20.  This I-20 Form can be obtained from International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) by the F-1 status holder. The F-2 dependent I-20 should be signed by the F-1 student.  Once the dependent has an I-20 Form, he/she must either:

    1. Apply for an F-2 visa stamp at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate overseas (except Canadian citizens). Gain F-2 status through entry to the United States by presenting the dependent I-20 Form, passport and F-2 visa stamp (accompanied by any supporting documents) at the U.S. Port of Entry.


    2. Apply for a Change of Status in the US. (please meet with an advisor at ISSS for further details)

    Initial F-1 Students
    If a student is applying for his/her own initial I-20 and will be accompanied by dependent(s), he/she needs to be sure to include dependent information (and funding should be adequate) in the appropriate section of the I-20 application. The school that has admitted the student to Penn will provide him/her with this application. The student needs to submit the I-20 Application for F-2  Dependents eform online with the appropriate financial funding information.

    Continuing F-1 Students
    When requesting a dependent I-20 after the student is in the U.S. in F-1 status, he/she needs to submit the I-20 Application for F-2 Dependents eform online with the appropriate financial funding information.

  • Instructions for completing the form
  • Use this application to obtain an I-20 form to bring your spouse and/or dependent children to the US. Parents or other relatives are NOT eligible for F-2 status. ISSS will issue an I-20 for a fiancé(e), but keep in mind that in order to obtain a dependent F-2 visa, your spouse will need to demonstrate proof of the marriage during the visa interview. Dependent children must be unmarried and under 21 years of age.

    You must demonstrate the ability to support your dependents by providing proof of additional funding ($6,000 for a spouse and $4,000 for each child) 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 US.

    Required Documentation
    • A copy of your proof of funding, such as a recent official bank statement; a letter (on bank letterhead with the bank officer’s signature, seal or stamp) confirming your funds; or a University of Pennsylvania letter of funding. See the section below for acceptable sources of funding. Multiple funding sources are permitted.
    • Photocopy of your I-94 card (front and back if issued paper I-94) or US entry/admission stamp in passport  (if issued electronic I-94)
    Refer to the automated I-94 process at http://global.upenn.edu/isss/travel
    • Copies of the passport identification page for each dependent, where available.

    What Funding Sources are Acceptable?
    • Liquid assets (generally checking or savings accounts)
    • Scholarships, grants or fellowships from Penn or a non-Penn source
    Not Acceptable
    • Non-liquid assets (stocks or mutual funds)
    • Assessments of the value of real estate or other property
    • A letter stating the salary of a parent or other sponsor

  • Study while in F-2 Status
  • F-2 spouses are NOT allowed to pursue a course of study. F-2 spouses may take 1-2 recreational courses, but are NOT eligible to participate in courses leading toward a degree or academic program. However, F-2 children can participate in full-time elementary or secondary study (kindergarten through twelfth grade.)

  • Extension of Stay
  • The duration of the F-1 status holder's program is stated in item 3 of the I-20. If the F-1 is eligible and applies for an extension of stay, the dependent's period of stay will automatically be extended.

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