U.K. & U.S. Education: Can Indian Students Bring their Family with them?!

Know the Dependant Visa Policy Shift in the U.K.

The U.K. government under Sunak has recently announced changes to the dependent visa policy, which will be implemented from January 2024. From then, international students will not be allowed to bring their dependents to the U.K. except those in research postgraduate programs. It marks a stark deviation from the previous policy, which allowed international students to get their spouses and children with them on their student visas.

The government believes that this change is imperative to reduce net migration to the U.K. Over the past few years, the number of dependents entering the country on student visas has increased significantly, from 16,000 in 2019 to 136,000 in 2022. The government claims that this has put a strain on public services and has made it more challenging for British citizens to find housing.

Moreover, the government believes this change is necessary to prevent people from using student visas as a backdoor route to work in the U.K. Under the current rules, students can switch to a work visa after completing their studies. However, the government alleges that some people are exploiting student visas to come to the U.K. and then find work illegally.

Drastic changes are being implemented in overseas education and migration. Better to understand the topic deeply; you should know what F-1 and F-2 Visas are.

U.S. Education: What is an F-1 Visa/Student Visa?

It is a nonimmigrant visa that enables international students to enter the U. S. and study at any SEVP institution. The F-1 visa is the most sought-after type of student visa for students who aspire to study at a U.S. institution. If you are granted an F-1 student visa, you can enter the U.S. up to 30 days before the start date of your program of study. You will also be able to work part-time on campus and apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT) after completing your studies.

If you want to study abroad & know all the procedures, please read more on F-1 Visa at

What is an F-2 Visa/Dependent Visa?

The F-2 visa allows spouses and unmarried children under 21 of F-1 visa holders to join them in the U.S. while they study.

Eligibility for F-2 Visa?

  • Be the spouse or unmarried child under 21 of an F-1 student visa holder.
  • Have a valid passport.
  • Intend to return to your home country after the F-1 student completes their studies.
  • To apply for an F-2 visa, complete the DS-160 nonimmigrant visa application form and pay a visa application fee. You will also need to submit A copy of your valid passport, A copy of your marriage or birth certificate, depending on your relationship to the F-1 student, A copy of the F-1 student’s I-20 form, a photograph and Evidence of financial support.
  • After you have submitted your application and all necessary documents, it is essential to schedule a visa interview at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. During the interview, you will be asked questions about your relationship with the F-1 student, your plans for your stay in the United States, and your financial support. Ultimately, the consular officer will determine whether to grant you an F-2 visa.
  • The F-2 visa is valid for the duration of the F-1 student’s program of study plus an additional 60 days. You must maintain your relationship with the F-1 student to keep your F-2 visa. You must report any changes in your address or marital status to your school and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). You must apply for a new F-2 visa if you leave the United States for over six months. Sufficient funds to support your living expenses in the United States.

How to get an F-2 Visa?

Step-by-Step Guide to Apply for F-2 Visa

  1. Get a Form I-20. The F-1 student you accompany must obtain a Form I-20 from their school. This form is a certificate of eligibility for nonimmigrant student status, and it contains important information about the student’s program of study and financial support.
  2. Complete the DS-160 visa application form. You can find this form on the U.S. Department of State website. You will need to provide personal information, your travel plans, and your relationship to the F-1 student.
  3. Pay the visa application fee. The cost of an F-2 visa is currently $160. Payment can be made online or at the U.S. embassy or consulate.
  4. Schedule a visa interview. You can schedule your visa interview online at the U.S. embassy or consulate website. At your interview, you will be asked questions about your relationship with the F-1 student, your plans for your stay in the United States, and your financial support.
  5. Submit your supporting documents:
  • A copy of your valid passport
  • A copy of your marriage/birth certificate, depending on your relationship to the F-1 student
  • A copy of the F-1 student’s I-20 form
  • Evidence of financial backup- bank statements, tax returns, or a letter from a sponsor
  • A recent passport-style photograph

If your visa application gets approved, you will receive an F-2 visa.

When to Arrive in the U.S. with an F-2 Visa?

You can arrive up to 30 days before the start date of the F-1 student’s program of study. This is true for your initial entry into the United States on your F-2 visa. After your initial entry, you will generally be able to re-enter the United States even without the presence of the F-1 visa holder. But exceptions to this rule is there. Only the U.S. CBP officer at the port of entry has the final say on whether or not you are allowed to enter the United States. If the CBP officer is unsatisfied with your answers to their questions or believes you are not a legitimate F-2 visa holder, they may deny you entry into the United States.

Please note:

Suppose you have questions about when to arrive in the United States on your F-2 visa. In that case, you should contact the U.S. embassy/ consulate in your home country or a qualified immigration attorney.

Restrictions on F-2 Visas

F-2 visa holders are subject to several restrictions, including:

  • F-2 visa holders cannot work in the U.S.They may, however, engage in unpaid volunteer work.
  • F-2 visa holders are allowed to take vocational or recreational courses on a part-time basis. However, they cannot enrol in full-time academic or vocational studies.
  • F-2 visa holders are allowed to travel outside of the United States, but they must maintain their status as F-2 visa holders, and they must return to the United States before their visa expires.

If an F-2 visa holder violates these restrictions, they may be subject to deportation from the United States.

Here are some additional things to keep in mind about the restrictions on F-2 visa holders:

  • If you hold an F-2 visa, you can apply for a work permit if you meet specific requirements. For instance, if your spouse is the primary financial provider for your family and you have been granted DACA.
  • F-2 visa holders may apply for a status change to an F-1 student visa upon admission to a SEVP-approved college or university.
  • F-2 visa holders who marry a U.S. citizen or PR may apply for a green card.

If you have any questions about the restrictions on F-2 visa holders, contact the U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country.

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