Studying abroad is a life-changing experience, but comes at its own cost. It brings with it numerous
challenges. International students in the US often bring their families. It can include spouses and
children. These challenges range from visa acquirement to accommodation issues.

It is difficult for students to pursue their dreams without considering their dependents. One
important aspect of international students is considering their dependents’ well-being.

You need to understand the rules and benefits for dependents. It will not only get you to help your
dependents, but you can also benefit from it.

Let us dive in to understand more!

Dependents’ Visa Categories

Acquiring a USA visa is one of the most difficult and time-consuming parts. The United States
offers specific visa categories for dependents of international students.
It allows them to accompany or join the primary student visa holder. There are several visa
categories. The most common dependent visa categories are:

F-2 Visa: Spouse and Children of F-1 Visa Holders
The F-2 visa is for spouse and unmarried children under 21 of F-1 visa holders. F-2 visa holders
can live in America. Individuals with an F-2 visa cannot work or engage in full-time academic
programs. However, they can enroll in part-time courses.

F-2 visa holders can also apply for a status change to another visa category. It is possible if they
become eligible.

J-2 Visa: Spouse and Children of J-1 Visa Holders
The J-2 visa is for spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 of J-1 visa holders (exchange

J-2 visa holders have the option to apply for employment authorization. It allows them to work in
the U.S. after obtaining approval.

Rights and Responsibilities

Rights and responsibilities are two-sides of a coin. Dependents of international students have
certain rights and responsibilities as well.

F-2 visa holders can enroll in part-time study programs. These programs include language courses.
J-2 visa holders can pursue full-time academic or vocational education.
Dependents have access to healthcare facilities. However, securing health insurance coverage for
themselves and their families is essential.
Dependents can live in the U.S. for the duration of the primary visa holder’s program. They can
travel in and out of America if their visa status remains valid.

Dependents must adhere to the rules associated with their visa category. They should not engage
in unauthorized work or overstaying. They also need to maintain their legal immigration status in
the U.S. Failure to do so can result in deportation.
You must report any significant changes to the authorities. It ensures compliance with immigration
regulations. These changes include address changes or visa status changes.

Employment Opportunities
Dependents of international students have varying opportunities for employment. The work
opportunities vary with the type. F-2 visa holders are generally not allowed to work in the U.S.
However, they may seek employment if they qualify for a status change to a different visa category.
J-2 visa holders can apply for employment authorization. Approval is not guaranteed and is
typically granted for specific employment opportunities.

The US offers various support for dependents of international students. Dependents of
international students play a vital role in the educational journey of their loved ones. These include
education and health care.
The U.S. immigration system can be challenging. One must understand the rights, responsibilities,
and opportunities available to dependents. It is essential for a successful experience.


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