Spouse Visa Status and Attending Schools
In most cases, a non-immigrant visitor's spouse (legally wedded wife or husband) is eligible to apply for a dependent visa, and come to the United States either accompanying or following to join the principal visa holder. A spouse in dependent visa status may be allowed to attend school in the U.S. without obtaining F1 status.
(See also: Dependent visa for child and school information)
General rules (exceptions and restrictions apply):
- A spouse attending school must still abide by the rules governing his/her nonimmigrant status.
- A spouse in dependent visa status is not allowed to extend his/her stay for the purpose of finishing a school year or program.
- A spouse may take classes that are avocational or recreational in nature.
- A spouse in dependent visa status is usually allowed to change status to F1, M1 or J1, except for K1 and K2 visa holders.
|If your nonimmigrant visa status is:||Your spouse may come to the U.S. in dependent visa status:||Your spouse may attend school in the U.S.||You spouse may change status to F-1, M-1 or J-1|
|A-1, A-2 or A-3||Foreign government officials||A-1, A-2 or A-3||Yes||Yes|
|B-1||Visitor for business||None ||No ||Yes|
|B-2||Visitor for pleasure||None ||No ||Yes|
|C-1 to C-4||Aliens in transit||None||N/A||N/A|
|D-1 or D-2||Crewmen||None||N/A||N/A|
|F-1||Academic student||F-2||No ||Yes |
|G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4 or G-5||Representatives to International Organizations||G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4 or G-5||Yes||Yes|
|H-1B||Specialty worker or fashion model||H-4||Yes||Yes|
|I||Foreign media representative||I||Yes||Yes|
|J-1||Exchange visitor||J-2||Yes||Yes |
|K-1||Fiance(e) of U.S. citizen||K-2||Yes||No|
|K-3||Spouse of U.S. citizen||K-4||Yes||No|
|L-1A||Intracompany transferee - Manager||L-2||Yes||Yes|
|L-1B||Intracompany transferee - Specialized knowledge||L-2||Yes||Yes|
|M-1||Vocational or language student||M-2||No ||Yes |
|N-8, SK-1, SK-2 or SK-4||Special immigrant (Certain Parents and Children of section 101(a)(27)(I))||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|NATO-1 to NATO-7||North Atlantic Treaty Organization||NATO1 - 7||Yes||Yes|
|O-1||Worker with extraordinary abilities||O-3||Yes||Yes|
|O-2||Alien's (support) accompanying O-1||O-3||Yes||Yes|
|P-1, P-2 or P-3||Athlete, artist or entertainer||P4||Yes||Yes|
|Q-1||Cultural exchange visitor||None ||N/A||N/A|
|Q-2||Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program (Walsh Visas)||Q-3||Yes||Yes|
|S5 or S6||Witness or Informant||S7||Yes||Yes|
|T-1||Victim of trafficking||T-3||Yes||Yes|
|TN||North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)||TD||Yes ||Yes|
|TWOV (C4)||Transit without visa||- None -||N/A||N/A|
|U-1||Victim of certain criminal activity||U-3||Yes||Yes|
|V-1||Spouse of an LPR||V-3||Yes||Yes|
|V-2||Child of an LPR||V-3||Yes||Yes|
- A spouse may apply for his or her own B visa and travel to the U.S.
- Unlike a child, a spouse in B status may not attend school, but is allowed to engage in study that is recreational or avocational.
- An F-2 spouse may not study toward a degree, but may take classes that are avocational or recreational in nature. To engage in a full course of study, an F-2 spouse must change status to F-1, M-1, or J-1. An F-2 spouse may attend high school without the need for F-1 visa.
- A spouse, after changing status to F1 or M1, must attend only SEVP approved schools.
- A J-2 spouse cannot change status unless the 2-year residence waiver or special waiver is obtained, if required.
- An M-2 spouse may not study toward a degree, but may take classes that are avocational or recreational in nature. To engage in a full course of study, an F-2 spouse must change status to F-1, M-1, or J-1. An M-2 spouse may attend high school without the need for F-1 visa.
- There is no provision for the spouse and children of a Q-1 visa holder.
- A spouse in TD dependent status may attend school without changing to F1 status.
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