Dependents (Spouse & Children)

Only spouses and children (under 21) may come as dependents of the F-1 or J-1 visa holder.  Health insurance is mandatory for accompanying dependents. The B-2 (visitor) visa is applicable for parents, siblings, domestic partners, and other family members who wish to visit you.  ISSA cannot issue documents for B-2 visitor visas or advise on B-2 issues.

General Information for Dependents

Financial Guarantee Requirements for Dependents

If you bring a spouse or children as dependents, you are fully responsible for their financial support.  Be prepared to show additional proof of funds on your Financial Guarantee.  The high cost of child care is not included in the child expenses figures.

Health Insurance

Health insurance is mandatory at Penn State for international students and any accompanying dependents.  For additional information, refer to Insurance Requirement for International Students and Insurance Information for Eligible Dependents.

Services for Your Spouse

There are some services available to spouses within the community. Information on these services can be obtained through Global Connections.

Child Care

Child care is an important consideration. Penn State offers quality day care opportunities, but the cost is high, and the waitlist is long. Some Child Care Resources are available.  

Travel (F-2 and J-2)

  • If you request a travel signature, the approval is also for your F-2 or J-2 dependents.  Bring the (F-2) I-20 or (J-2) DS-2019 to DISSA for signature with the approval email.
  • If only the dependents are traveling, you must request a travel signature through iStart.
  • While traveling, dependents should carry the following: I-20 or DS-2019 with travel signature, valid passport, and valid F-2 or J-2 visa. Also recommended are financial information and proof of student’s enrollment. 

Ending Dependent Status

The dependent’s immigration status is directly related to the primary visa holder.  An adviser will ask for proof that the dependent has returned home, changed status, or is legally divorced before terminating the immigration record.

The dependent’s status ends when:

  • The F-1 or J-1 visa status ends.
  • The dependent decides to leave the U.S. permanently or for an extended period.
  • If spouses become separated/divorced
    • Remember, the purpose of the dependent visa is to accompany the primary. If this is no longer the case, the dependent should exit the U.S. or change to a different visa category.