Dependents of certain non-immigrant visa holders (i.e., A, G, H, L, O, P, and R) are eligible to study in the U.S. as long as their spouse or parent maintains valid visa status. Your status is tied to that of your parent or spouse. If/when the primary visa holder leaves the country, you must also leave the country or apply for a change to an appropriate student status.
For all visa categories except A and G: A dependent child loses his/her dependent status upon turning 21 years old. Therefore, you must change your status to an appropriate visa category prior to your 21st birthday if you wish to remain in the United States;
For A & G Status: Children of parents in either A or G status are considered dependents for visa purposes if they are unmarried and not a part of some other, independent household. College students who live near campus while in school are not considered to be in a separate household for these purposes. NOTE: If your parent is in the United States in valid A or G status and you are unmarried, you may NOT change to a different visa category even if you would like to do so.
If you will lose your dependent status prior to your graduation date, you will need to change your status to an acceptable student visa prior to losing your current status. Changing status to an F-1 visa can be accomplished by leaving the United States and applying for an F-1 visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you decide on this option, please readthe Travel/Visa Information for additional information on obtaining your visa.
If travel outside the U.S. is not feasible for you, it is also possible to apply for a change of status while you remain in the country. Staff at ISSS will assist you in filing for the change of status, with the following steps:
A & G visa holders, NOTE: If you are in A or G status and the principal visa holder will be leaving the country prior to your graduation, you will need to file a Form I-566 with the embassy or international organization in which your parent or spouse is employed. That organization will complete this document and notify the U.S. State Department that you are eligible for a change of status. This document will be needed prior to submission of the change of status paperwork.
Students who are dependents of non-immigrant visa holders may not be employed while they are in the United States, unless they have been granted an Employment Authorization Document by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. If you have questions about whether you are permitted to apply for employment authorization under your visa category, visit the Office of International Student and Scholar Services for additional information, or check with your legal counsel.