Skip to main content

F-2 Visa Holders

  • Your F-2 lawful status is the official U.S. government designation and authorization of your stay in the U.S. as a non-immigrant dependent of an F-1 student. Your status is dependent upon and in effect for the duration of your F-1 prinicpal visa holder.

    Before leaving the port of entry, check to make sure this information has been entered in your documents.

    • Your status is designated by the Customs and Border Patrol officer who reviews your visa and other documents at your port of entry, and upon your admittance, writes your lawful immigration status and the length of time you may remain in the U.S. on your Form I-94 and Form I-20 (shown below).
    • You will probably have “D/S” as the length of stay; it means “duration of status” or until the program completion date noted on your Form I-20—providing you continue to maintain the requirements of your status.
    • In most instances, your visa category and immigration status will be the same, F-2, unless you change your lawful status after entering the U.S. For example, you may change from F-2 to F-1.

    Immigration matters are the responsibility of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

  • Under U.S. immigration law and realizing that your status is dependent upon and in effect for the duration of your F-1 principal status holder, it is your responsibility to maintain F-2 lawful dependent status. Begin by reading the “Instructions to Students” on page 2 of your Form I-20; then carefully follow them and the information below:

    1. Have a valid passport at all times.
    2. Check in with the school listed on your current Form I-20.
    3. Do not enroll in a full-time course of studies on campus; however, you may enroll in part-time study that is avocational or recreational in nature after receiving authorization from International Services.
    4. Keep your Form I-20 valid and accurate by following the proper procedures when your F-1 principal:
      • applies for an extension of program which must be done prior to its expiration date,
      • transfers from one program to another (e.g., ESL to regular school) or from one level to another (e.g., bachelor's to master's) and
      • transfers schools.
    5. Follow the grace period rules governing admittance to the U.S. no more than 30 days before your F-1 spouse’s program start date and those pertaining to your remaining in the U.S. for up to 60 days beyond your F-1 spouse’s program completion date or any authorized practical training.
    6. Abide by rules requiring disclosure of information and prohibition on criminal activity.
      • F-2 dependents, like all other non-immigrants, are required to disclose fully and truthfully all information requested by DHS.
      • Dependents are also required to obey federal, state and local laws.
      • BYU has an obligation to update SEVIS regarding any disciplinary action of a principal status holder or dependent taken by the school as a result of being convicted of a crime.
    7. Do not accept employment or engage in business under any circumstances.
  • As an F-2 dependent you may not engage in employment or business under any circumstances. Failure to observe this requirement will place you out of status. Also, employers may be cited, fined, and/or imprisoned for hiring persons ineligible for employment or maintaining employees who are no longer authorized to be employed.

  • The following are general guidelines and requirements for your travel and re-entry. However, because individual circumstances vary, consult with International Services, your embassy or legal advisor before traveling.

    Inside the U.S.

    • Special permission is not required for you to travel within the U.S.
    • Whenever you travel outside the Provo area, you are advised to carry your

    Outside the U.S.

    • Questions and Answers about travel and re-entry:
    • Documents
      • Entry to another country—other countries have rules and restrictions on who can enter their country and how
        • If you travel to your country of citizenship or permanent residence, you will generally be allowed to enter if you have a valid passport or other travel document issued by that country.
        • If you travel to a third country (a country other than the U.S. or your home country), you are responsible for knowing whether you need an entry visa for that country.
          • Some countries will require a visa. You may also need an in-transit visa for countries where you are making a connecting flight. Most countries have immigration websites that provide visa information.
          • Canada—Persons from many countries are required to obtain a Canadian entry visa when entering Canada from the United States. Visas may be obtained from the Canadian Consulate General. Consult the Canadian Consulate General for visa regulations concerning your country before making travel arrangements.
      • Re-entry to the U.S.
        • Visa—must
          • be valid
          • allow further entries and
          • match your current status listed on your I-94
        • Passport
          • Must be valid for at least six months into the future; however,
          • Some passports are only required to be valid when you enter the U.S.
        • Form I-94—you should not surrender your current I-94 when you exit the U.S. unless you have changed your status and will be returning with a new visa.
        • Form I-20 that
          • Is issued by BYU
          • Is current
          • Contains an endorsement signature from International Services for travel on page 3
            • We recommend the endorsement to be within four months of your travel; yet
            • the regulations stipulate that it must be within 12 months of travel
        • If traveling separately from your principal visa holder, you should also carry a photocopy of their visa, Form I-94 and Form I-20.
        • Current financial documentation issued within the last four months
    • Special Situations
      • Pending Applications for Adjustment of Status—If you have a pending application for adjustment of your non-immigrant status to permanent residency, you will need permission to travel before leaving the U.S. by obtaining Advance Parole. more
      • If you require a new visa, there is no guarantee that you will be readmitted.