F-1 to F-2

F-1 to F-2 – Change of Nonimmigrant Status

Contact the Study Abroad office as soon as you know you must obtain F-2 status in order to discuss your options.


  1. Obtain a dependent I-20.
    The primary F-1 status holder–your spouse or parent currently studying in F-1 status–must request a dependent I-20 for you through their international student office.
  2.  Review your options for obtaining a new status. Decide which option to use: “Travel and Reentry” or “Change Status in the U.S.”
  3.  Prepare the required documents and follow next steps for obtaining F-2 status (details below).

Option 1: Travel and Reentry

Review the international students’ visa page.

Option 2: Change of Status in the U.S.

Submit your application to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) one of two ways:

  1. Apply online through the USCIS ELIS (USCIS Electronic Immigration System)
  2. Mail a paper application to the USCIS facility.

If you apply online, you must scan and upload copies of the following documents to ELIS. You will complete Form I-539 information online and pay the application fee online.
If you choose the paper application option, mail the following documents to the USCIS facilities.

  • Form I-539 (Paper application only; if you apply online, complete Form I-539 information online)
  • $290 fee: check or money order payable to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security” (Paper application only; if you apply online, you will pay the fee online)
  • Original I-94 or photocopy of admission stamp and paper printout of I-94 record
  • Photocopy of the visa page and identification page in your passport
  • Photocopy of current and previously issued I-20s
  • Photocopy of the I-20 listing you as the dependent of the F-1
  • Photocopies of your spouse’s I-20 and I-94 card (front and back)
  • Evidence that your F-1 spouse is maintaining status (for example, a copy of his or her transcript and current enrollment verification)
  • Photocopy of proof of family relationship to the F-1 (for example, marriage certificate) in English
  • Evidence of financial support (F-2 dependents are not permitted to work in the U.S.)
  • Detailed letter requesting and explaining the need to change status