Passport & Consular Services

What is the procedure for Bringing Family Members Under a USA Study and Exchange Visa?

The procedure for bringing family members under a U.S. study and exchange visa, such as an F1 visa or J-1 visa, may vary depending on the specific visa category and your circumstances. Here are some general guidelines:

F1 Visa (Academic Students):

Check Eligibility: Confirm whether your F1 visa allows for dependents to accompany you. Typically, F1 visa holders can bring their spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 as F2 dependents.

Obtain Acceptance and Financial Documentation: Ensure that you have been accepted into a U.S. educational institution and have the necessary financial documentation to cover your own expenses as well as those of your dependents.

Include Dependents in Initial Application or File Separate Applications: Depending on the instructions provided by the educational institution and the U.S. embassy or consulate, you may need to include your dependents’ information in your initial application for the F1 visa. Alternatively, you may need to file separate applications on behalf of your dependents.

Provide Documentation: Gather the necessary documentation for your dependents, including valid passports, financial documentation, marriage certificates (if applicable), and birth certificates for children.

Pay the SEVIS Fee: Pay the SEVIS fee for each dependent using the SEVIS ID associated with their applications. This fee is required before applying for the F2 visas.

Complete the DS-160 Form: Each dependent will need to complete the online nonimmigrant visa application form DS-160. Ensure that all information provided is accurate and consistent with the primary F1 visa holder’s information.

Schedule Visa Interviews: Schedule visa interviews for each dependent at the U.S. embassy or consulate. The interviews should be scheduled after the primary F1 visa holder’s interview.

Attend Visa Interviews: Attend the visa interviews with your dependents. The consular officer will review the applications, ask questions, and verify the provided documentation.

Visa Issuance: If approved, the dependents’ visas will be placed in their passports, and they will receive the passports with the visas within a specified timeframe.

J-1 Visa (Exchange Visitors):

The process for bringing family members under a J-1 visa may vary depending on the specific exchange program and the program sponsor’s guidelines. It’s important to consult with your program sponsor for detailed instructions on how to bring your family members with you. The program sponsor will provide guidance on the necessary forms, documentation, and procedures specific to your situation.

In general, the J-1 visa allows for dependents to accompany the primary J-1 visa holder. Dependents of J-1 visa holders are typically issued J-2 visas. The J-2 visa allows the dependents to accompany the primary J-1 visa holder but does not automatically grant them work authorization.

It’s important to note that the process and requirements for bringing family members can vary, and it’s advisable to consult with the educational institution, program sponsor, or an immigration attorney to ensure compliance with the specific guidelines and procedures applicable to your study or exchange program.

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