An international student or scholar may be accompanied to the US 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.
If you wish to bring a dependent to the US, you will need to notify our office using the Add a New Dependent eForm on iBearcatsGlobal.
Apply for a Visa
Dependents may apply for their visas at the same time as the student/scholar, or they may apply at a later date.
- If your family members are abroad and you want them to join you in the US, complete the I-20/DS-2019 Application eForm in iBearcatsGlobal.
- If your family members are already in the US on another type of visa and you wish to change their status to F-2 or J-2, meet with a UC International advisor.
If they are granted the visa, they may enter the United States when the international student/scholar does, or at a later date. They will follow the same visa application guidelines as the student/scholar.
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.
F-2 dependents may receive 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. 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 a dependent wants to study full-time in degree-seeking status, they must apply for and receive a change of status to F, J, or M.
- F-2 visa holders may not accept employment or engage in business under any circumstances.
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.
Interns accompanied by dependents must provide evidence of additional funds sufficient for their support.
- For the spouse, an additional $500 per month is required.
- For each child, an additional $250 per month is required.
J-2 dependents may apply for permission to work. However, the income received cannot be used to support the J-1 principal.
In order to obtain an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) for J-2 work permission, fill out the Work Permits for H-4 and J-2 Dependents eForm in iBearcatsGlobal and make an appointment with our office.
Bring the following to the appointment:
- A letter stating why the employment is desired and that it is not necessary for the support of the J-1 principal;
- Copy of J-1's passport, J-1 visa and I-94;
- Copy of J-2's passport, J-2 visa and I-94 card;
- Copy of all DS-2019s (front and back) issued to the J-1 and J-2;
- Completed I-765 Form;
- Check for I-765 filing fee made out to “The Department of Homeland Security” or a completed Form G-1450 - Authorization for Credit Card Transactions;
- Two passport-style photos of J-2 dependent.
- All EADs ever received (if this is a renewal of previously authorized work).
Financial need is not a criterion for employment authorization of a J-2 dependent. However, USCIS sometimes requires a budget or statement of estimated expenses to determine that you have adequate income.
If permission for employment is granted, an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) is issued and is valid for any kind of full-time or part-time employment authorization. This process could take up to 90 days.
The EAD will be issued for one year or for the amount of time remaining on the J-1 visa holder’s DS-2019 (if less than one year). If you will stay longer, the extension of stay notification must be filed prior to the extension of employment authorization. Then, refile the Form I-765 in a timely manner to preserve the J-2's right to work.
If H-4 dependents will be included in an H-1B petition:
- The dependent will need to fill out an I-539 application.
- The H-1B applicant will pay an additional I-539 filing fee, as well as biometrics fees.
- Dependent fees can be paid by the prospective employee or the hiring department.
- An I-539 application and additional fees are not necessary in consular processing cases.
H-4 visa holders 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, contact us.
Visiting 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.