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Family and Dependents

F-2 Dependents

Spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age are considered dependents of F-1 students and can be admitted to the U.S. in F-2 non-immigrant status.

Visa and Immigration

Obtaining F-2 Status

  1. Dependents may obtain F-2 status by entering to the U.S. with an F-2 I-20 and F-2 visa.
  2. Dependents who are already in the U.S. in a different immigration status may apply to change status to F-2 through the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Apply for an F-2 I-20 

To get an I-20 for your spouse or child, submit the F-2 I-20 Request Form for Adding Dependents (PDF) to OISS.

Apply for an F-2 Visa

If your spouse or child is not in the U.S., after receiving the F-2 I-20 from OISS, they must apply for an F-2 visa at a U.S. Consulate. Follow application instructions listed on the website for the U.S. Consulate where they will apply.

Enter the U.S. in F-2 Status

When entering the U.S. dependents will need to show the immigration officer their F-2 I-20, F-2 visa, and unexpired passport. 

 

Maintaining Immigration Status

Travel Signatures

F-2 dependents, like their F-1 spouse or parent, must obtain a travel signature on their I-20 from OISS in order to re-enter the U.S. after traveling abroad.

Employment

F-2 dependents are not allowed to work in the United States.

Health Insurance

The health care system in the United States is very complex and expensive. You need to know how to use the system properly so you can get the medical care you need without huge costs. 

Learn more about health insurance for family members

Education and Schooling

Education for Children

All children in Michigan between the ages of 6 and 16 must attend school. To enroll in kindergarten, a student must be 5 years old on or before December 1st in the year in which they enroll. Public schools are free to all children and books and supplies are often provided. 

When enrolling children in school, parents are required to fill out forms to report vaccinations and other medical details for each child. By law, the school must have a record in English of your child's immunizations. If such a record does not exist or is inadequate, you will be asked to have your child immunized in order to be allowed to attend school. The schools will ask for a birth certificate or legal proof of birth and may ask that the child has a physical exam. Take any records of your children's school work, in addition to their passports, when you enroll them.

There are typically three levels of public school education:

Elementary School: Kindergarten through 5th grade
Middle School or Junior High: 6th grade through 8th grade
High School: 9th grade through 12th grade

Each school district is required by law to provide free and appropriate education for all children. If you have a child who is has a disability or has a problem, other than lack of English proficiency, that makes it difficult for him/her to be in an ordinary classroom without help, contact the Special Education section of the East Lansing School District at (517) 333-7459. This office will find the right program for your child and provide whatever help he/she needs. Education is the right of every child.

While F-2 children may study full-time at the primary and secondary level, F-2 children may not enroll full-time at a vocational school, college or university. 

Learn how to enroll your child in school by visiting the website for the school district where you live. 

East Lansing Public Schools

Haslett Public Schools

Okemos Public Schools

Lansing Public Schools 


 

Education at the Postsecondary Level

  • F-2 dependents may enroll part-time at a vocational school, college or university at any Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) certified school. They may enroll part-time as a non-degree or degree-seeking student.
  • F-2 dependents may enroll full-time in classes that are avocational and recreational in nature.
  • An F-2 dependent who wants to enroll full-time in a vocational school, college or university must apply for and obtain approval to change nonimmigrant status to F-1, J-1, or M-1 before beginning their full-time study.

Childcare for Young Children

All parents want to find childcare options that provide safe, supportive, and educational environments for their children. 

To help you find the right care, the MSU Student Parent Resource Center has helpful resources for students.

J-2 Dependents

Spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age are considered dependents of J-1 students and scholars and can be admitted to the U.S. in J-2 non-immigrant status. 

Visa and Immigration

Obtaining J-2 Status

  1. Dependents may obtain J-2 status by entering to the U.S. with a J-2 DS-2019 and J-2 visa.
  2. Dependents who are already in the U.S. in a different immigration status may apply to change status to J-2 through the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Apply for a J-1 DS-2019

To get a DS-2019 for your spouse or child, submit the J-2 DS-2019 Request for Adding Dependents (PDF) to OISS.

Apply for a J-2 Visa

If your spouse or child is not in the U.S., after receiving the J-2 I-20 from OISS, they must apply for an J-2 visa at a U.S. Consulate. Follow application instructions listed on the website for the U.S. Consulate where they will apply.

Enter the U.S. in J-2 Status

When entering the U.S. dependents will need to show the immigration officer their J-2 DS-2019, J-2 visa, and unexpired passport. 

 

Maintaining Immigration Status

Health Insurance

All J-2 dependents must maintain health insurance that meets the same minimum requirements as J-1 visa holders. Learn more about health insurance options for family members.

Travel Signatures

J-2 dependents, like their J-1 spouse or parent, must obtain a travel signature on their DS-2019 from OISS in order to re-enter the U.S. after traveling abroad.

Departure Notice

J-2 dependents may enter and leave the U.S. independent of the J-1 scholar or student. Some J-2 dependents live full-time with their J-1 parent or spouse and others just visit several times a year. While independent travel is permitted, please note that if a J-2 dependent departs the U.S. permanently (meaning that they will not return again under J-2 status before the J-1 program ends), the J-2 Notice of Departure must be completed and submitted to OISS.

Employment

J-2 spouses and J-2 children age 14 and above are eligible to apply for work authorization through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The application takes approximately three months to process. See J-2 Request for Employment (PDF) for more information.

Education and Schooling

All J-2 dependents are eligible to study at any level, primary (Kindergarten through 5th grade), secondary (6th grade through 12th grade) or post-secondary (college/university). J-2 dependent children are eligible to attend public schools from kindergarten through 12th grade. 

All children in Michigan between the ages of 6 and 16 must attend school. To enroll in kindergarten, a student must be 5 years old on or before December 1st in the year in which they enroll. Public schools are free to all children and books and supplies are often provided. 

When enrolling children in school, parents are required to fill out forms to report vaccinations and other medical details for each child. By law, the school must have a record in English of your child's immunizations. If such a record does not exist or is inadequate, you will be asked to have your child immunized in order to be allowed to attend school. The schools will ask for a birth certificate or legal proof of birth and may ask that the child has a physical exam. Take any records of your children's school work, in addition to their passports, when you enroll them.

There are typically three levels of public school education:

Elementary School: Kindergarten through 5th grade
Middle School or Junior High: 6th grade through 8th grade
High School: 9th grade through 12th grade

Each school district is required by law to provide free and appropriate education for all children. If you have a child who is has a disability or has a problem, other than lack of English proficiency, that makes it difficult for him/her to be in an ordinary classroom without help, contact the Special Education section of the East Lansing School District at (517) 333-7459. This office will find the right program for your child and provide whatever help he/she needs. Education is the right of every child.

Learn how to enroll your child in school by visiting the website for the school district where you live. 

East Lansing Public Schools

Haslett Public Schools

Okemos Public Schools

Lansing Public Schools 

Childcare for Young Children

All parents want to find childcare options that provide safe, supportive, and educational environments for their children. 

To help you find the right care, the MSU Student Parent Resource Center has helpful resources for students and the MSU WorkLife Office has helpful resources for MSU employees. 

H-4 Dependents

Spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age are considered dependents of H-1B  employees and can be admitted to the U.S. in H-4 non-immigrant status. 

Visa and Immigration

If you have a spouse and/or unmarried children under the age of 21, they may obtain H-4 visas and enter the U.S. with you or at a later date. If they are currently in the U.S. in another visa category with you they may change status to H-4 when you change status to H-1B.

Obtaining H-4 Status

  1. Dependents may obtain H-4 status by entering to the U.S. with a valid H-4 visa and a copy of the I-797 H-1B approval notice. 
  2. Dependents who are already in the U.S. with you in a different immigration status can change status to H-4 when you change status to H-1B. Go to the H-1B Employee Checklist (PDF) for a list of required documents.

Apply for a H-4 Visa and Enter the U.S. in H-4 Status

If your spouse or child is not in the U.S., they must apply for a H-4 visa at a U.S. Consulate. Go to our Travel and Visas webpage and click on H-1b Employees tab for lists of documents required to apply for an H-4 visa and to enter the U.S. 

Maintaining Immigration Status

Children Approaching 21st Birthday

Before reaching their 21st birthday children holding H-4 status must apply to change to another lawful immigration status. If they do not apply to change status they will not be maintaining H-4 status as of age 21.

Study in the U.S.

Dependents in H-4 status may study full or part time

Employment in the U.S.

  • H-4 dependent children cannot be employed in the U.S.

  • H-4 dependent spouses cannot be employed in the U.S. However, H-4 dependent spouses who are are seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident (LPR) status may be eligible to apply to United States Citizenship and Immigration Service for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) that will allow them to work in the United States if certain conditions are met.

Health Insurance

The health care system in the United States is very complex and expensive. Spouse and/or children can be covered under MSU employee health insurance plans. The H-1B employee must enroll in health insurance coverage that includes coverage for their spouse and/or children. For more information about MSU employee health insurance options, go to the MSU Human Resources Benefits Healthcare webpage.

Education and Schooling

All H-4 dependents are eligible to study at any level, primary (Kindergarten through 5th grade), secondary (6th grade through 12th grade) or post-secondary (college/university). 

All children in Michigan between the ages of 6 and 16 must attend school. To enroll in kindergarten, a student must be 5 years old on or before December 1st in the year in which they enroll. Public schools are free to all children and books and supplies are often provided. 

When enrolling children in school, parents are required to fill out forms to report vaccinations and other medical details for each child. By law, the school must have a record in English of your child's immunizations. If such a record does not exist or is inadequate, you will be asked to have your child immunized in order to be allowed to attend school. The schools will ask for a birth certificate or legal proof of birth and may ask that the child has a physical exam. Take any records of your children's school work, in addition to their passports, when you enroll them.

There are typically three levels of public school education:

Elementary School: Kindergarten through 5th grade
Middle School or Junior High: 6th grade through 8th grade
High School: 9th grade through 12th grade

Each school district is required by law to provide free and appropriate education for all children. If you have a child who is has a disability or has a problem, other than lack of English proficiency, that makes it difficult for him/her to be in an ordinary classroom without help, contact the Special Education section of the East Lansing School District at (517) 333-7459. This office will find the right program for your child and provide whatever help he/she needs. Education is the right of every child.

Learn how to enroll your child in school by visiting the website for the school district where you live. 

East Lansing Public Schools

Haslett Public Schools

Okemos Public Schools

Lansing Public Schools 

Childcare for Young Children

All parents want to find childcare options that provide safe, supportive, and educational environments for their children. 

To help you find the right care, the MSU Student Parent Resource Center has helpful resources for students and the MSU WorkLife Office has helpful resources for MSU employees. 

Other Family Members

Inviting Parents and Relatives to Visit

Learn more about Inviting Parents and Relatives to the U.S. (PDF)