F-2 Dependents

Dependents of F-1 students include spouses and children, and dependents are allowed to stay in the U.S. in F-2 status for the duration of the F-1 student's study, including any post-completion OPT time.  

Students’ dependent(s) must request dependent(s)' I-20s from OIP in order to apply for F-2 visas in their home countries, or file a change of status to F-2 if they are in the U.S.  

What Students Need to Know

Below are the things to consider before bringing spouses and children to the U.S.:

  • Study in the U.S.:

    • Only spouses and children can be added as F-2 dependents.
    • F-2 spouses and children may enroll in SF State academic programs for less than a full course of study.
    • Children under 18 may attend school full-time, from elementary to high school.
  • Finance:
    • The estimated living expenses for each additional family member are $5,000 per academic year (nine months).
    • However, actual expenses depend on each student's circumstances. 
    • It is recommended that students complete a one-page itemization of expenses for the last nine months (if a student), including tuition, books, medical expenses, automobile or transportation expenses, rent, food, utilities, laundry, entertainment, clothes, health insurance coverage, and miscellaneous expenses. They should then project additional expenses for the family and assess whether they have the necessary funds to cover these expenses.
  • Employment is prohibited:
    • F-2 dependents are not allowed to work in the U.S.
  • Medical Expenses and Child Care:
    • Medical care is very expensive. Students must purchase adequate health insurance for their entire family.
    • Childcare expenses are also high around the Bay Area.
  • Cultural Adjustment:
    • Remember that while being a student here, family members often spend a great deal of time alone.
    • Family members will also need attention, and students will need to spend time with their families, sometimes when students feel they should be studying.
    • Family members may also experience loneliness and depression, and the demands that studies make on students can sometimes lead to conflict and tension.

To request dependent(s) I-20, email the following documents to f1@sfsu.edu from their SF State email account. We accept digital signatures, scanned copies, and high-resolution/clear pictures of the completed form and documents. We will review their request and issue a new I-20 within 5 business days:  

  • A signed New I-20 Request Form (PDF, 209 KB)
  • A signed Financial Affidavit Form (PDF, 296 KB)
  • Proof of Finances: the student and/or their sponsor(s) must prove that they have the financial ability to pay for school costs plus living expenses for one academic year, plus an additional $5,000 for each dependent. See the Financial Affidavit for the minimum amount of funds they are required to have.  Photocopies are acceptable.
    • Acceptable types of proof: balance verification issued by the bank or Financial Guarantee/award letters issued by the scholarship organization.
    • The proof must be issued within the past 6 months.
    • If they have a sponsor(s), their sponsor(s) must provide a Sponsor’s Letter (See template (Word, 12KB) signed by their sponsor(s) along with the financial proof.  

The following documents are considered level 1 confidential data by SF State. Please encrypt these files before emailing them to f1@sfsu.edu:

  • Photocopies of their dependent(s)' passport(s) (the bio page with photos only)  
  • Proof of their dependent(s)' current status if their dependent(s) have entered the U.S. under the non-immigrant status
  • Photocopy of their marriage certificate (in English or in their native language with a certified English translation)
  • Photocopies of the birth certificates of any children (in English or in their native language with a certified English translation)

*7Zip (https://www.7-zip.org/)is a free encryption tool. 

Upon approval, we will issue dependent I-20(s) for the student and their family member(s). Their family member(s) will then need to use the dependent I-20(s) to apply for an F-2 visa(s) or apply for a change of status to F-2 status if dependents are in the U.S. on a different visa status.

    Last updated: January 2024

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