If you are currently a student at Emory in a visa status other than F-1 or if have recently received admission to Emory and are in another visa status, you may wish to change your status to F-1. There are two ways to obtain F-1 status: by filing a petition from within the United States to change status, or by traveling outside the United States and re-entering the country as an F-1.
For more information on changing to F-1 status, please see our Pre-Arrival and Orientation website.
If your spouse is currently in F-1 status at Emory, you may request a change of status to F-2. You must first complete a Request for a Dependent Visa Form and submit it to ISSS with all required documentation and your International Student Advisor will create a dependent I-20 Form. Following receipt of the I-20, there are two ways to obtain F-2 status – by filing a petition from within the United States to change status or by traveling outside the United States and re-entering as an F-2 dependent.
Applying from within the United States: Eligibility
If you have lawfully maintained your current F-1 status, you are eligible to file a petition for a change of status via US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS). Exception: F-1 students who previously participated in an Exchange Visitor program (i.e. J-1 or J-2 status) who were subject to 212(e), the Two Year Home Country Physical Presence Requirement, and have not fulfilled this requirement or received a waiver from the US Department of State are not eligible to change status.
Processing times for the change of status application vary but a minimum of three months is usually required. Additional delays may be caused by current USCIS workloads, possible security clearances, and potential requests for additional information issued by USCIS about your case. As long as your application for change of status is timely filed (i.e. within your F-1 program and its accompanying 60 day grace period), you may remain legally in the United States awaiting adjudication of the petition to change status to F-2. Please note: if you travel internationally while the change of status is pending, USCIS considers this action an abandonment of the petition and the application is destroyed. Therefore, ISSS does not recommend travel while the change of status is pending. If you must travel prior to approval of the petition, please contact your International Student Advisor for more information before departing the United States.
Once you are ready to apply for a change of status, contact an International Student Advisor and he or
will review the application and provide a letter of support.
Form I-20 (original): An I-20 for F-2 status will be issued by ISSS following receipt of the Request for Dependent Visa Form and accompanying documentation.
Completed Form I-539.
Application Fee: A check, money order, or cashier’s check for $290 made payable to "US Department of Homeland Security."
Copies of your immigration documents: Current and previous I-20s (pages 1 & 3 only), visa stamp, EAD (if currently on OPT), passport identification page and, if applicable, passport expiration page.
Copy of your marriage certificate and certified translation of this document, if not in English.
Original Form I-94.
Documentation of at least $8400 in financial resources to fund your living expenses: If funding will come from a sponsor such as your parents, a letter from the bank and a letter of support (affidavit) indicating that they agree to support you for the duration of your studies and the amount of intended support must also be included. Supporting documents must be less than two months old. Include certified translations and currency conversions if funding documentation is not in English and/or US dollars.
If previously subject to 212(e), photocopy of the waiver issued by USCIS or documentation that the requirement has been met.
Letter explaining why you did not enter the United States in F-2 status but wish to change to F-2 status at this time. The cover letter should request the change of status and list all items included in the petition.
Please send all documents to the address below. Please photocopy all documents related to your application, including your check. Be sure to send your application via Certified Mail from the post office or via courrier service (i.e. Fedex, UPS, etc). After your documents are received, you will receive a notice from USCIS. The notice will provide a case number, listed on the upper left corner and beginning with the letters “EAC.”
If the change of status is approved, you will receive an approval notice with a new I-94 at the bottom marked “F-2” and your original I-20 document stamped for approval.
Applications sent by regular mail should be sent to:
P.O. Box 660166
Dallas, TX 75266
If using express mail and courier deliveries:
2501 S. State Highway 121 Business
Lewisville, TX 75067
Applying through Travel
Alternatively, you may choose to leave the United States, obtain an F-2 entry visa, and re-enter the United States in F-2 status. In order to become an F-2 dependent via travel, you will need to obtain Form I-20 and meet all requirements to apply for a visa. If you are visiting a US Embassy or Consulate outside of your home country, please contact the Embassy/Consulate directly to confirm that they accept applicants who are not citizens of that country (so-called "third country nationals") and consult with an International Student Advisor prior to departure to discuss the benefits and risks of applying in a country outside your home country.