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Dependent Study Permissions

Dependents may have the option to study during their stay in the United States depending on their individual circumstances and status. Your primary reason for stay in the United States must not become the completion of any course of study: each dependent status is directly tied to the principle’s status and primary purpose of stay. Please be very cautious when considering enrolling in any type of class or program of study. It is highly recommended that any planned study is discussed well in advance with an ISO Advisor to ensure that the dependent’s and principle’s statuses are not jeopardized. In general, dependent study permissions are as follows:

F-2 dependent spouses may enroll in a classes that are for a hobby or non-vocational in nature, such as English learning. Effective May 29, 2015, F-2 dependents are permitted to study part-time as long as the school is approved by SEVP to host F-1 or M-1 students. This new regulation means that you may be able to enroll in a degree program or take courses toward the completion of a degree prior to changing to an F-1 or J-1 student category. Please contact ISO to speak with an advisor about these new permissions!

J-2 & H-4 dependent spouses are allowed to participate in part-time or full-time study. However, if you are accepted into a full-time program of study, the ISO strongly recommends applying for a change of status to an appropriate student visa. H-4 dependents must consult with a Scholar Advisor before changing to a student status.

F-2, J-2, & H-4 dependent children may attend elementary and secondary school. F-2 children may study part-time at a college that is certified by SEVP, but must change to a primary student category to enroll full-time. J-2 & H-4 children may enroll and study in college, but will not be able to maintain a dependent status once they reach the age of 21.


For more information on dependent permissions and requirements, please visit our Dependent Spouses & Children page.