Obtaining Visa Documents for Dependents (F/J Students and Scholars)
Basic Information about F-2/J-2 Dependents:
- A dependent is a spouse, or unmarried child (under age 21)
- The status of an F-2/J-2 is completely dependent upon the valid status of the F-1/J-1
- The dependent needs their own SEVIS-generated dependent Certificate of Eligibility (COE) I-20/DS-2019 form with a unique SEVIS ID number
Before You Apply
Your partner is not eligible to be a visa dependent, but may apply for a B-2 visitor visa to join you under a provision for Cohabitating Partners described in the Foreign Affairs Manual for visa officers. Look for 9 FAM 402.2-4(B)(5).
be sure to provide your dependents' information to your department when they are requesting a DS-2019 for you. All J-1/J-2 forms will be created at the same time.
They will need to either:
- leave the U.S., obtain an J-2 visa at a U..S. embassy or consulate (unless Canadian), and re-enter the U.S. in J-2 status. Obtaining J-2 status through travel is recommended.
- apply for a change of status from USCIS (Citizenship and Immigration Services). A change of status application is not recommended because it takes a long time to be processed and maintaining status while the application is pending can be problematic.
How to Apply for a Dependent COE (Certificate of Eligibility) If You Are a Student or J-1 Scholar Currently at Columbia
Gather your documents and information
- Dependent(s) Passport ID page
- Proof of funds. Please review our Dependent(s) Funding document to see how much funding you'll need and what funding types are acceptable.
- Your most recent I-94 Arrival Record to the U.S.
- The dependent’s most recent I-94 Arrival Record, if your dependent is currently in the U.S.
Log in to Compass with your UNI and password to submit your application
Please click the appropriate link below:
We will contact you
Allow up to 10 business days for us to review and process your application.
- F-1: If your request is approved, we will email both your digital F-1 Form I-20 and your dependent’s F-2 Form I-20 for you to print with additional instructions.
- J-1: We will notify you by email when your J-1 DS-2019 and your dependent’s J-2 DS-2019 is ready to be shipped. Per Department of State J Regulations, digital DS-2019 forms are not permitted to be emailed.
Send the I-20/DS-2019 to your spouse
They will need the COE to apply for an F-2 or J-2 visa application at a U.S. consulate and to enter the U.S.
**Note that visa dependents do not pay a SEVIS fee.