Maintaining Status for Dependents

Maintaining Status

Your spouse/partner and children are known as visa dependents, as their status in the U.S. is dependent on your status. Please be aware of the following:

  • F-1 / J-1 Students: If your program end date changes, the end date changes for your dependents as well.
  • Scholars (professors or researchers): The expiration of your status is based on your approved documents for employment or research. If you end your program earlier than anticipated, your family members may not stay in the U.S.
  • F-1/ J-1 Students: if your F-1/J-1 status is extended for authorized employment after graduation (OPT/AT) your dependents' status is extended as well.
  • J-1 Scholars (professors or researchers): If your J-1 status is extended, your J-2 dependents' status is extended at the same time and new extended DS-2019 forms will be issued. 
  • H-1/TN/O-1/E-3 Scholars (professors or researchers): Your dependents' status is not automatically extended when yours is.

    They will need to either apply for an extension with an I-539 application while in the U.S. simultaneous with the I-129 petition to extend your status, or leave the U.S. and re-enter after your extension has been approved. 

Neither you nor your dependents can stay in the U.S. when your SEVIS record is terminated for a leave of absence. You all need to leave within 15 days.

  • The one exception is for a medical leave of absence for which you need to remain in the U.S. for medical treatment.
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Note: Don't work without employment authorization!

Unauthorized employment is a serious violation of the dependent's status. Only certain visa types are eligible for work permission in the U.S.. Visit our Spouses/Partners Employment Overview for detailed information.