Who can request a Change of Status to F-2?

A spouse or minor child (under age 21) of a student/exchange visitor in valid F-1 status may request a change of status to F-2 to accompany the primary F-1.  The primary F-1 student/exchange visitor should request that the dependent spouse or minor child be added to his/her I-20. Upon receipt of the request, a new I-20 will be issued for both the F-1 student/exchange visitor and the F-2 dependent.

The dependent can apply for the F-2 visa either outside or inside of the United States.  When applying outside the U.S., contact the U.S. consulate or embassy where the dependent will apply for complete details about the application process and a list of all documents needed. Once the F-2 visa is approved, the dependent will use the valid passport, visa and dependent I-20 to enter the U.S. in F-2 status.

When applying inside the U.S., an appointment to see an International Advisor in order to obtain the updated I-20 and assemble the application packet is needed.  The applicant must bring all of the materials indicated on the Change of Status to F-2 checklist linked below.

We advise the applicant to make copies of all documents submitted, before mailing the application to USCIS. And we recommend using USPS Certified Mail or Delivery Confirmation to mail the complete application packet to USCIS. These mail options provide a tracking number which is important for tracking when the application arrives at USCIS.

This application process takes several months to complete. Generally, the applicant may remain in the U.S. to await the results. In approximately 2 to 3 weeks the applicant can expect to receive a "Notice of Action" document (acknowledgement of receipt) that gives the case number. Once the Change of Status has been APPROVED, provide a copy of the Approval Notice to the International Advisor within 15 days of receipt.

Forms (for Change of Status to F-2 applications INSIDE the US)

  • I-20 Request – Formal request to add dependent(s)
  • I-539 Application To Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status
  • I-94 Record – If needed as part of the application packet

Additional Resources (for Change of Status applications INSIDE the US)