Dependents (spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age) can accompany international students to Rutgers and the United States during the duration of the student’s studies. Dependents of F-1 or J-1 status students will have to enter the US on F-2 or J-2 visas. Their eligibility to stay legally in the U.S., as well as to extend their stay, is contingent upon the primary visa holder maintaining his/her legal status and extending his/her program in a timely manner. If you are a new student, and you want to bring your family with you right away, you can request an I-20 or a DS-2019 for them through the Admissions office. If you are a continuing student, and wish to bring your family members after you’ve arrived, please follow the instructions on this page.
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 intends to visit for a short period of time, we would advise you to apply for a B-2 (tourist visa) instead. Please review the instructions on inviting relatives other than visa dependents.
Eligibility and Regulations +
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.
Their eligibility to stay legally in the U.S., as well as to extend their stay, is contingent upon the primary visa holder maintaining his/her legal status and extending his/her program in a timely manner.
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 (ISSS) 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)
Financial and Health Insurance Requirements +
- If your spouse will accompany you to the US, you must show additional financial documentation of US $5,000 per year for living expenses. An additional US$4,000 is required for each child.
- 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:
- Rutgers health insurance
- Non-Rutgers health insurance. You must obtain a waiver if you choose to go with an external health insurance provider. See here more details for the Rutgers cost. Rutgers New Brunswick students: please contact Eirinn Jones, insurance coordinator, at email@example.com for any questions
- You will also need to pay a one-time Dependent Document Fee(s): $50 for a spouse and $25 for each child (paid in person by check or money order only)
How to Apply for F-2 or J-2 Status for Your Spouse and/or Children +
Gather the necessary materials below:
- A scanned copy of your family member's biography and photo passport page
- A scanned copy of 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.
- Proof of health insurance:
- Complete the Request to Add an F-2/J-2 Dependent via the RGlobal Portal .
You'll need all the documents and information we've listed above in order to successfully complete the add a dependent request. This is a multiple submission form and you can add multiple dependents as part of one request.
Application Timeline +
Within five business days of receiving your complete request, we will issue you and your dependent(s) new documents. Once your documents are ready we will email you to confirm they are ready and provide further instructions on getting the needed visa for your dependent.
Pick up your new documents from ISSS/ receive the new document via email, if eligible.
Pay the Dependent fee.
If your spouse and/or child(ren) is not yet in the US, they will need to apply for an F-2 visa if you are in F-1 status or a J-2 visa if you are in J-1 status. They will need to apply for this visa in their home country. 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 spouse and/or child(ren) is currently in the US in another immigration status, they will either need to depart the US to then apply for a new visa at a US consulate outside of the US or apply to change their status in the US. If you have any questions on this step, please contact an international student adviser for a "change of status" appointment.
Social Opportunities & Resources 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.
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.
After Arrival: Check In +
Once your dependents arrive in the United States or have officially changed their immigration status to F-2 or J-2, 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.
Removal of F-2/J-2 Dependent +
If the F-2/J-2 dependent changes his or her status or leaves (is leaving) the US, the F-1 or J-1 principal visa holder must have his/her name and dependent expenses removed from the form I-20/DS-2019. Please email ISSS at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: "Removal of F-2/J-2 Dependent".