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UC Merced International

Dependent Family Resources

F-2 or J-2 Dependent Status for Spouse and Children

You can bring dependents with you while you study in the U.S. Dependents may be a spouse or unmarried child under the age of 21 years. Depending on your visa status, the dependent would apply for either an F-2 or a J-2 visa.  To request a Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 for your spouse or child, please complete the request form and submit it to the Office of International Affairs or the International Student Advisor/Designated School Official. You are required to show you can sufficiently support your dependent(s). Parents, siblings or extended family members do not qualify as dependents.

To requsest a Form I-20 (F visa) for your dependent spouse or child click here.

To request a Form DS-2019 (J visa) for your dependent spouse or child click here.

Health Insurance

The Department of State requires J-2 dependents have insurance upon arrival to the U.S. Visit this link for further information on this insurance requirement and minimum policy coverage: dependents are strongly recommended to purchase health insurance either with UC SHIP or a private company.


All children in California between the ages of 6 and 18 are required to attend school. Children will be required to have certain medical exams and vaccinations before entering school. To help your children make a smooth transition into their new school, read as much as you can about how the U.S. school system works and what you can expect. Here are some helpful websites:


The U.S. Department of Education

Great Schools

Merced City School District


An F-2 spouse or dependent child may not engage in full-time post-secondary study (study after U.S. high school), but may engage in study at a SEVP certified school in the U.S. as long as they are enrolled in less than a full course of study. To engage in full-time study, an F-2 spouse or child must apply for and be granted F-1 or J-1 status.


Dependents in J-2 status are permitted to apply for work authorization with USCIS. The employment must be for cultural enrichment and not based on financial need.

Dependents in F-2 status are NOT permitted to work while in the U.S.