Fri. Jul 19th, 2024

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International Students and Their Dependents — F-2 Visas and Work and Study Authorization

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US H-1B visa draws

On April 30, 2022, Freeman Law posted my blog that gave a short outline of international students in the U.S. pursuant. To an F-1 visa and the limited circumstances under which those visa-holders might work in the U.S. See International Students, F-2 Visas, Graduation a . . . Work in the U.S.? Since that blog hit the Freeman Law site page, I was accosted with questions about the dependents of the F-1 student visa holder. This blog serves to supplement that previous blog, with a focus on the F-2 visa holder.

Dependents of an F-1 visa holder are within the scope of the definition of “immigrant” contained in 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(15)(F). Which defines “immigrant” to include “the alien spouse and minor children of any alien” having a residence in a foreign country. Which he or she has no intention of abandoning, who is a bonafide student qualified to pursue a full course of study at an established academic institution (i.e., the F-1 student) if such spouse or minor children are accompanying or following to join such F-1 student. See also 26 U.S.C. § 1201 (Issuance of visas).

The relevant regulation — 8 C.F.R. § 214.2(f)(3) — gives, to some extent. “The spouse and minor children accompanying an F-1 student are eligible for admission in F-2 status if the student is admitted in F-1 status. The spouse and minor children following to join an F-1 student are eligible for admission to the United States in F-2 status. If they are able to demonstrate that the F-1 student has been admitted and is. Or will be within 30 days enrolled in a full course of study. Otherwise engaged in approved practical training following completion of studies.”

F-2 Visas and Work and Study Authorization

At the time the spouse or minor children of an F-1 student seek admission. The eligible spouse and minor children of an F-1 student with a Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) Form I-20. Must individually present an original SEVIS Form I-20 given in the name of each F-2 dependent issued by a school authorized. By the government for attendance by F-1 foreign students. Id.

As reported in the previous blog, an F-1 student is allowed to engage in qualified curricular practical training and employment through the Non-SEVIS Form process or through a SEVIS Form I-20 process. Given that the employment is directly related to his or her major area of study. See 8 C.F.R. § 214.2(f)(10)(i)(A)-(B). After completion of the course study, the F-1 student may engage in qualified optional practical training. See id. at § 214.2(f)(10)(ii).

[Cap Reached for Additional Returning Worker H-2B Visas for 2nd Half of FY 2022]

However, the F-2 spouse and minor children of an F-1 student — every one of whom was given an individual SEVIS Form I-20 — may not accept employment and, with limited exemptions. The F-2 dependent might engage only less than a full course of study, as defined by the regulations. See 8 C.F.R. § 214.2(f)(15)(i) (“The F-2 spouse and children of an F-1 student may not accept employment.”), (ii) (authorization for qualified study for the F-2 dependent of an F-1 student).

The prohibition of employment for an F-2 spouse of an F-1 student applies during the F-1 student’s authorized practical training. As well as any authorized optimal practical training period. For authorization work or to take on a full course of study, the F-2 spouse or dependent should apply for and get alternate authorization. Such as the F-1, M-1, or J-1 nonimmigrant status. See id. at § 214.2(f)(15)(ii)(A)(1)-(2).

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