An international student or scholar may be accompanied to the U.S. by his or her dependent(s) at any time. Dependents are defined as spouses and/or unmarried minor children. Children over the age of 21 are not eligible to enter as the dependent of an international student or scholar.
Dependents may apply for their visas at the same time as the student/scholar, or they may apply at a later date. If they are granted the visa, they may enter the United States when the international student/scholar does, or they may enter the U.S. at a later date. They will follow the same visa application guidelines as the student/scholar.
If you wish to bring a dependent to the U.S., you will need to notify our office using the appropriate form on ibearcatsglobal.uc.edu.
It is important to determine whether you have sufficient funds to support yourself and your dependents. The University of Cincinnati requires extra proof of funds for a spouse and for each child in order to prepare the dependent I-20 or DS-2019(s). The amount varies by the type of visa you hold.
If your family members are abroad and you want them to join you in the US, please complete the I-20/DS-2019 Application Form and submit it with the required documents listed on the form.
If your family members are already in the U.S. on another type of visa and you wish to change their status to F-2 or J-2, you should meet with a UC International advisor. In some cases it may not be possible to change status while in the US or there may be deadlines to consider.
Only your spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age are eligible for J-2 status. Other family members, such as parents, brothers, and sisters are not eligible. Further, J-2 documentation for family members can only be issued if you can show funding for their support and health care. If your dependents are to accompany you or join you in the United States, they may obtain their visas and admission to the United States along with you on the basis of the Form I-20 issued in their names.
An F-2 may remain as long as the F-1 maintains status. If the F-1 student falls out of status, then the F-2 falls out of status as well, because his/her visa status is a derivative of the F-1. Keep in mind that like F-1 students, F-2 dependents are required to keep their passports valid at least 6 months into the future.
F-2 children may engage in full-time study at the elementary and secondary school level only (K-12th grade). F-2 spouses and children may study part-time, but only if the study is "vocational or recreational" in nature. If you wish to study full-time in degree-seeking status, you must apply for and receive a change of status to F, J, or M. F-2s cannot begin coursework until their change of status is approved.
F-2 visa holders may not accept employment or engage in business under any circumstances.
Only your spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age are eligible for J-2 status. Other family members, such as parents, brothers, and sisters are not eligible. Further, J-2 documentation for family members can only be issued if you can show funding for their support and health care. If your dependents are to accompany you or join you in the United States, they may obtain their visas and admission to the United States along with you on the basis of the Form DS-2019 issued in their names.
Provide Documentation of your Dependents
Dependents who come to the United States must obtain their J-2 visas using the Form DS-2019 in their name. The J-2 applicant then presents the Form DS-2019 to the immigration officer at the port of entry to the United States.
You must notify UC International Services of any accompanying dependents in J-2 status. You will provide biographical information (e.g., full name, address, country of birth, etc.) and immigration information (e.g., passport information, visa information, etc.) using the UC International Services Add a New Dependent eForm found at ibearcatsglobal.uc.edu. Each dependent will then receive his/her own DS-2019 to apply for the appropriate visa.
Dependents of J-1 Interns
Interns accompanied by dependents must provide evidence of additional funds sufficient for their support. For the spouse, an additional $500 per month is required and $250/month is required for each child.
J-2 Dependents are eligible to work in the United States. For more information on J-2 employment, please visit the relevant pages under our Employment & Taxes section of the website.
H-4 & E-2 Dependents
If dependents will be included in your petition, you must submit an additional fee of $370.00 made payable to the Department of Homeland Security and an I-539 application for your dependent(s). This is a flat fee regardless of how many dependents the prospective employee has. This fee can be paid by the prospective employee or their hiring department.
You will also need to submit the following:
- A draft I-539
- passport bio/extension page
- current visa,
- all prior H-4 approved notices
- all prior J documents (if applicable)
- a photocopy of the front and back of your I-94 card if your most recent entry to the U.S. was prior to April 30, 2013
- a print-out of the electronic copy of the I-94 if your most recent entry occured after April 30, 2013
Non-immigrant visa holders (E-2, H-4, L-2, etc) are allowed to study on their status. Dependent children can study on these statuses until age 21. If your dependent wishes to study at UC on their current immigration status, email us copies of the following documents in PDF format:
- Copy of your visa stamp
- Copy of your I-94 card (front and back) if your most recent entry to the U.S. was prior to April 30, 2013. If your most recent entry occurred after April 30, 2013, print out an electronic copy of the I-94 at http://www.cbp.gov/i94.
- Copy of your passport
- Copy of approval notices form I-797 for any status changes/extensions you have been granted
You must return these documents to our office prior to beginning your studies at UC.
Other Family Members
Only the spouse and unmarried minor children (under 21 years old) are eligible to enter the United States in a dependent status. Frequently, international students and scholars wish to invite their parents or other family members to the U.S. to attend graduation or for a visit.
If parents or other members of an international student or scholar's family, including children over the age of 21, wish to enter the U.S. temporarily to visit, they may enter on a B-2 tourist visa.