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.
To request dependent(s) I-20, email the following documents to email@example.com 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 I-20 Request Form.
- 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 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 provided below) signed by their sponsor(s) along with the financial proof.
- 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)
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Upon approval, OIP 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 change of status to F-2 status if dependents are in the U.S. on different visa status. Only spouses and children can be added as F-2 dependents. F-2 dependents are not allowed to work in the U.S.
Things to Consider Before Bringing Dependents to the U.S.
- Study in the U.S.: F-2 spouses and children may enroll in SF State academic programs for less than a full course of study. Children who are under 18 may attend school (from elementary school to high school) full-time.
- Finance: The estimated living expenses for each additional family member is $5000 per academic year (nine months). It is recommended that students complete, for themself, 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 or not they have the necessary funds to cover these expenses.
- Medical Expenses and Child Care: Medical care is very expensive. It is extremely important that students purchase adequate health insurance for their entire family. Child care expenses are also high around the Bay Area.
- Cultural Adjustment: Remember 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 family, sometimes when students feel that 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.
Last updated: May 2021
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