Dependents (spouses and children under 21 years of age) can accompany international students to Rutgers and the United States by obtaining an F-2 or J-2 visa. If the international student is coming to Rutgers on an F-1 visa, you and your children will apply for F-2 visas; if the international student is coming to Rutgers on a J-1 visa, you and your children will need to apply for J-2 visas. Gather the necessary materials below to obtain an appropriate visa document (I-20 or DS-2019) that you will need to apply for your visa and submit these to Rutgers Global–International Student and Scholar Services.
Eligibility and Regulations +
You are a spouse or an unmarried child (under 21 years of age) of a primary F-1/J-1 visa holder. Dependents can enter the United States with the F-1 or J-1 visa holder or separately afterwards, but never prior to the arrival of F-1 or J-1 visa holder
F-2 or J-2 dependents may not remain in the United States after the F-1 or J-1 visa holder leave the country, unless the primary F-1 or J-1 visa holder’s absence is brief and temporary.
- May study part-time only
- Must consult with the Rutgers Global–International Student and Scholar Services before planning to enroll full-time
- An F-2 child may study full-time study from kindergarten through twelfth grade
- Not eligible to work, or any employment in the United States (including teaching assistantships) and are not eligible for a Social Security Number
- Must file IRS Form 8843 each year sometime between January 1 and June 15
- Must leave the United States within 60 days of the end of the F-1 program or when the F-1 student departs (whichever occurs first).
- May study full time and work in the U.S.
- Must apply for work authorization from the USCIS before being employed
- Unemployed J-2 dependents must file the Form 8843 each year sometime between January 1 and June 15
- Employed J-2 dependents must file federal and state income tax with the IRS
- Must leave the United States within 30 days of the end of the J-1 program or when the J-1 visa holder departs (whichever occurs first)
Lifestyles and Visa Types +
Dependent visas are meant for family members who want to visit the F-1 or J-1 visa holder in the United States for a significant period of time. If your family member will come for three months or less, we would advise you to apply for a B-2 (tourist visa) instead.
Be sure to have open communication with your family and discuss visa regulations and difference in lifestyle/cultures. Also be sure to research schools/daycare if your children will be joining you.
How to Apply for an F-2 or J-2 Visa +
Gather the necessary materials below to obtain an appropriate visa document (I-20 or DS-2019) that you will need to apply for your visa and submit these to Rutgers Global–International Student and Scholar Services.
- The Request for Dependent Visa Document form
- Copies of your dependents' passport
- Submit the proof of funding for the primary F-1 or J-1 visa holder along with an additional $5,000 for spouse and/or $4,000 per child for living expenses. Please see the Certification of Funds for details.
- Dependent document fee(s): $50 for a spouse and $25 for each child (paid in person by check or money order only)
- Proof of adequate health insurance for you and your dependent(s). Please see here for how you can meet the Rutgers Insurance requirements.
You must confirm your health insurance with one of the two options below:
Application timeline +
Once a complete application has been received, you will be issued an I-20 or DS-2019 for your dependent(s) between one to two weeks. After you have received the I-20 or DS-2019 for your dependent, you will need to do one of the follow items:
- Mail the I-20 or DS-2019 with other supporting documents to your family member to apply for an F-2 or J-2 visa stamp at their local U.S. consulate. Canadian citizens and Aruban citizens do not need to apply for a visa. Your dependent will then gain F-2 or J-2 status through entry to the United States by presenting their I-20/DS-2019, passport, and F-2/J-2 visa stamp (accompanied by any supporting documents) at the U.S. port of entry.
- If your dependent is already in the United States and plans to apply with USCIS to request a change of status in the United States instead—please contact an international student adviser for a “change of status” appointment.
Social Opportunities for Dependents +
We encourage you to be supportive and prepared for your dependents to join you in the United States. Be patient, plan ahead, and have fun! Help your family members make friends and feel welcome by joining the International Women's Group and/or the International Friendship Program. Please see here for more resources.
After Arrival: Check In +
Once your dependents arrive to the United States or have officially changed their immigration status to an F-1 or J-2 status, you must bring in their documents to complete the check-in process. We must review their documents and ensure their health insurance is active. Do not forget to check-in your dependent.