Bringing dependents to Binghamton

If you wish to bring your spouse and/or children with you to the United States while you are studying at Binghamton University, the ISSS will need to create I-20 documents (if you will have an F-1 visa) or DS-2019 documents (if you will have a J-1 visa) for each dependent.


  • F-2 or J-2 dependents must be the legal spouse or unmarried child of the F-1 or J-1 student.
  • Students must show additional proof of funding for each dependent.

How to apply

Gather and scan the required documentation 

  • Passport biographical page for each dependent.
  • You will need to show proof of additional funding to cover the living expenses for your dependents of at least $6,000 for a spouse and $4,000 for each dependent child.
    • If you are currently enrolled, you will need to show proof of funding for your dependents in addition to funding for your living expenses as well as tuition and fees.
    • If you are currently authorized for OPT or STEM OPT, you will need to show proof of funding for your living expenses plus the additional dependent expenses noted above.
    • If your funding will be provided by a friend or family member, they will need to write and sign a letter of support in addition to providing a copy of their bank statement. All financial documents must clearly show the full name of the account holder, bank name, date, account number, current balance, and the currency.

Submit the Add a New Dependent e-form

You must submit the Add a New Dependent e-form online. You will need to upload the required documentation in order to submit the e-form. If you have multiple dependents, you must submit a separate e-form for each dependent. 

Pick up the new documents

You will receive an email from ISSS with electronic I-20s or DS-2019s for you and your dependent(s). You will need to print and sign each I-20 or DS-2019 at the bottom of page 1. Be sure to keep all old I-20s or DS-2019s for your records.

Have your dependent apply for F-2 or J-2 status

After your dependent has their I-20 or DS-2019, they will need to apply for F-2 or J-2 status. If they are currently outside the U.S., they should apply for an F-2 or J-2 visa at the U.S. consulate or embassy in their home country. If they are in the U.S. they will either need to leave the U.S. to apply for a visa and return in their new status, or they may apply for a change of status within the U.S. If you have questions about either of these options, speak with an ISSS advisor during walk-in advising hours. Please note that receiving an I-20 or DS-2019 does not grant your dependent F-2 or J-2 status. 

Important information

Health insurance

As an international student, you are able to enroll your dependents in the student health insurance plan. You can view information about rates and the enrollment process on our website. We strongly encourage all dependents in the U.S. to have health insurance, and this coverage is required for dependents in J-2 status.

Childcare and school

The school year in New York State begins the first week of September and runs through late June. New York state law states that all children who will be 6 years of age or older prior to December 1 must be enrolled in school. There is no tuition for children attending public school in New York State. School districts are determined by your place of residence; contact the school district directly for registration information. If you have children under the age of five, you may have to pay for qualified day care or babysitting. There is a licensed childcare center on the Binghamton University campus. Childcare in the Binghamton area can be quite expensive and have wait lists, so you should plan ahead if you will need care for young children. 


Dependents in F-2 status are not eligible for employment under any circumstances. Dependents in J-2 status may apply for work authorization from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).