What Is the Difference Between an F-1 and F-2 Visa?

The F visa has two different, but related classifications. There is the F-1 visa and F-2 visa. While the F-1 visa is a popular one, as it is for students seeking to temporarily live in the U.S. and has a relatively broad application, it is still worthwhile to know more about the F-1 visa and how it works alongside the F-2 visa. The F-2 visa is designed just for the dependents of F-1 visa holders.

F-1 Visas vs. F-2 Visas

The F-1 visa is for students looking to temporarily live and study in the U.S. for a set period of time. They could be studying anywhere, from a college or school to a seminary or conservatory. F-2 visas, on the other hand, are exclusively for dependents of F-1 visa holders. A dependent can be either a spouse or an unmarried, minor child of the F-1 visa holder.

While the F-1 visa has broad applicability, it also has clear and specific requirements. For starters, the F-1 visa applicant must have the intent to temporarily study in the U.S. The F-1 visa is not an immigrant visa. The F-1 visa applicant must also be going to study at an academic institution. A vocational school will not be able to obtain an F-1 visa. The F-1 visa also allows the holder to work in the U.S., but there are restrictions on the type of work and where the visa holder can work.

The F-2 visa allows a spouse or minor, unmarried child of an F-1 visa holder to join their family member in the U.S. while they study. You can sometimes apply for F-1 and F-2 visas jointly. Other times, the F-1 applicant will apply for their visa first before the F-2 visa applicant submits their paperwork. In addition to being a dependent of the F-1 visa holder, the family must be able to support themselves during their stay in the U.S. That is the other F-2 visa requirement.

While the F-1 and F-2 visas are different, they are also directly connected. The F-2 visa will expire at the same time as the F-1 visa it is connected to. The expiration usually coincides with the completion of the educational program engaged in by the F-1 visa holder. Sometimes, an F-1 visa holder can extend their stay by obtaining a new Form I-20. In this case, the extension will also apply to the F-2 visa holder. An F-2 visa can be renewed by filing Form I-539 and the F-2 visa holder must have proof of their relationship to the F-1 visa holder. It is also likely going to be required that the F-2 applicant for renewal attach proof of sufficient funds to cover the extended U.S. stay.

Immigration Law Attorneys

If you or your family members have any questions about how immigration and nationality laws in the United States may affect you, or if you want to access additional information about immigration and nationality laws in the United States or Canada, please don’t hesitate to contact the immigration and nationality lawyers at NPZ Law Group. You can reach us by emailing info@visaserve.com or by calling us at 201-670-0006 extension 104. We also invite you to visit our website at www.visaserve.com for more information.