Students in valid F-1 status may request dependent I-20s for the following:

  • Married spouse
  • Unmarried child or children under the age of 21

F-1 Students may request a dependent I-20 at any point during their degree program or during Optional Practical Training (OPT).

Requesting a Dependent I-20

Required Documentation

  • Request for Dependent I-20: Student Request form (link to form will be available shortly))
  • Documentation of relationship to dependent
    • For spouse: Marriage certificate, copy of both original and English translation
    • For child or children: Child's birth certificate, copy of both original and English translation
  • Copy of dependent's passport
  • Proof of financial support for next two semesters, or amount of time remaining in program of study
    • Financial support must cover tuition and living expenses for you plus living expenses and health insurance for all dependents. Refer to the Expense Worksheet to understand how much financial support is required.
    • U.S. bank statements, international bank statements, Letter of Intents for graduate assistants, etc are acceptable.
    • Property statements, job offer letters, pay stabs, or 401K statements as proof of funding are NOT acceptable as funds must be readily available.
    • Financial documents more than 3 months old will not be accepted.
    • Consult with DSO on other acceptable financial support documentation.


Processing can take up to 10 working days to process the Dependent I-20 Request page and issue new F-1 and F-2 dependent I-20s.

Benefits and Limitations of F-2 Status

Enrollment Limitations

We require the F-2 spouse meet with the DSO before any enrollment. F-2 dependents are permitted to enroll in courses, however there are some restrictions: 

  • Kindergarten through 12th Grade: An F-2 child may enroll full time in an elementary or secondary school. Beyond twelfth grade, an F-2 child is only eligible for part-time enrollment.
  • College or University: An F-2 dependent may enroll part time at a U.S. college or university. Classes may be recreational or degree-seeking. An F-2 dependent is never eligible for full-time enrollment at a U.S. college or university as an F-2 must change their status to F-1 if they want to pursue a degree in higher education. At East Georgia State College, part-time enrollment is defined as: 
    • Fall and Spring Semesters: 6 credits for undergraduate students.
    • Summer Semester: 6 credits for undergraduate students.

F-2 Dependents and Employment

An F-2 dependent is never eligible to work for pay.

To be eligible for OPT, the F-2 dependent must become an F-1 student through a change of status. As an F-1 student, the spouse or child would be required to enroll full time and must be in valid F-1 status for a full academic year before eligible for OPT. EGSC defines an academic year as a fall and spring semester. Read in more detail on Change of Status

Aging Out of F-2 Status

An F-2 child will lose their F-2 status on their 21st birthday. Before "aging out," an F-2 child must take action to continue to stay in the U.S., if desired. Read in more detail on Change of Status

Other Considerations

Financial Readiness

Students are encouraged to plan a budget to see if they will have sufficient funds to support themselves and their family. Budgetary considerations include: high daycare costs, housing and food increases, phone bill increases, and required health insurance for dependents.

Social Constraints

Students should also consider how much time they will spend away from their dependent(s) either on campus, in their office, and/or in their lab. Other possible considerations include English proficiency and whether dependents will be able to find social connections. 

Reporting to DSO

Students should report to the DSO in the following circumstances: 

  • Dependents have permanently departured the U.S. 
  • Dependents have changed their non-immigrant status 
  • Marital changes such as divorce

They also have great flexibility with travelling abroad, and can stay in the US as long as your I-20 is valid, but can also choose to leave at any time, for a short or long time (up to 5 months) away, and can return again as long as their F-2 visa and F-2 I-20 are valid.

The F-2 I-20’s are connected to your I-20, so if you lengthen, shorten, or add OPT to your I-20, your F-2 will get a new I-20 with this adjustment as well.