Overview

Student Immigration Definitions

Obtaining F-1 Student Status at Columbia

Important Information for Students Fully Funded
by Columbia University


Transfer of F-1 Supervision

Change of Status to F-1

Message for Canadian Students

Potential Delays in Visa Issuance

Dependents

Student Tax Information

Maintaining F-1 Status

I-20 Recertification

Academic Certification for Travel

F-1 Travel Information

Govt Q & A for F-1 Travel

DHS Information on Arrival Problems

F-1 Extension of Stay (Current Program)

F-1 Extension of Stay to Begin New Program

F-1 Reinstatement

F-1 Work Opportunities

F-1 Practical Training (PT) Overview

F-1 Curricular Practical Training

F-1 Optional PT Before Degree Completion

F-1 Optional PT After Degree Completion

STEM 17-month OPT extension

F-1 Internship with an International Organization

F-1 Leave of Absence, Suspension or Withdrawal

Student Departure Information

F-1 Last Term Authorization

Inviting Relatives/Friends to Visit You

Address Change Form


Applying for a Social Security Number

Dependents of F-1 students

In the language of immigration regulations, the individual in F-1 status is the "principal alien". Your dependents—spouse and/or unmarried, minor (under age 21) children—come to the United States in a derivative status, F-2. That means their primary purpose for being in the United States is to accompany you. Their F-2 status is completely dependent on your valid F-1 status.

Each F-2 dependent will receive his or her own SEVIS-generated I-20 form, with a unique SEVIS ID number. However, it is the F-1 principal who signs the I-20.The F-1 student must provide documentation showing the availability of funds in excess of their own cost of living expenses in order to obtain a dependent I-20. Currently, it is $1,000 per month for a spouse, and $500/month per child. In addition, each dependent must provide a copy of his or her passport.

Federal regulations do not allow individuals in F-2 status to be employed in the United States, or to enroll in courses of study at the post-secondary level. An F-2 who wants to work needs to find an employer to sponsor him or her in an employment-based status, such as H-1B. An F-2 who wants to enroll in a course of study would need to be admitted to a full-time course of study and change to F-1 status.

Domestic Partners

For F-1s, the dependent status of F-2 is reserved for spouses, and/or unmarried, minor (under age 21) children. This presents difficulties for those in relationships without marriage.

The Department of State has determined that B-2 (visitor) visas may be appropriate for cohabiting (unmarried) partners, whether of the same or opposite sex. Consular guidance on this may be found under FAM 41.31 N14.4, Cohabitating Partners, Extended Family Members, and Other Household Members not Eligible for Derivative Status, on pages 25-26 of the Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM).

Though B-2 visits are usually for short periods of time, it is permissible for the accompanying partner to intend to accompany the principal for the duration of a study program in the U.S. The accompanying partner must intend to depart at the conclusion of the principal's authorized stay in the U.S. In such cases there is a fixed end point, and therefore the B-2 applicant meets the requirement of temporary intent, even though the individual intends to stay longer than six months or a year.

Last Reviewed: 31 March 2014 Last modified: 31 March 2014
Columbia University International Students and Scholars Office