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Information for Dependents and Families

Moving to a different country is an exciting and sometimes challenging experience. This page contains useful information for students, scholars, and their families to assist in the transition to NC State University and adaptation to the American culture. Raleigh is a welcoming city with a diverse range of activities. There are world class museums, open air amphitheaters, historic sites, professional theater companies, award-winning restaurants, professional sports, and vibrant festivals.

Whether you are the spouse of a student or scholar, or a parent, sibling, or family member of a new international student, we look forward to welcoming you and your family to NC State.

Information for Dependents

In the Spouse Resource Guides you will find information on topics like what to bring (and what not to bring), the city of Raleigh, housing and utilities, and advice from other international spouses. Explore the content and the links on this page to learn more about the immigration process and visa requirements. The Office of International Services (OIS) is committed to helping dependents through our programs which include English Conversation Club, IMOM (International Moms and Mates), children playgroups and many volunteer opportunities which will help them get connected and get involved in the local community. F-2 and J-2 dependents are welcome and encouraged to participate in any OIS program. 

Most international students and scholars prefer that their spouse and children accompany them while in the U.S.

Dependents (spouse and/or children) must have a SEVIS record, a valid visa, and their own visa certificate (Form I-20 or DS-2019). In order for OIS to issue a visa certificate for a family member, please submit the Dependent Request Form along with supporting documentation:

  • Copy of dependent’s passport(s)
  • Financial documentation (please refer to the request forms for more information)

Dependents must submit to the U.S. Consular Officer a properly endorsed Form I-20 or DS-2019. Dependents must also have a valid passport and must be able to demonstrate eligibility for F-2/J-2 visa status, such as proof of relationship to the F-1 or J-1 student (e.g., a marriage certificate for spouses or a birth certificate for minor dependent children) as well as demonstrate proof of ties to their home country.

If a student or an exchange visitor would like their parents, siblings, friends, or relatives to visit the United States temporarily, they may write a letter of invitation to aide them in obtaining a temporary visitor visa from the U.S. Consulate in their country – or they may use the visa waiver program if they are from a visa-waiver country. OIS does not need to review or sign the invitation letter. However, this invitation letter should be notarized. Your local bank and/or Student Legal Services (by appointment only) offers notary services. Please do not sign the letter before your notary appointment and be sure to bring a photo ID with you.

 A model of an invitation letter can be found on the Forms for International Students webpage under “miscellaneous forms”.

Students and scholars are encouraged to schedule a separate check-in appointment for their dependent (spouse). Please note: Dependent check-in is required for J-2 visa holders. During a dependent check-in the OIS staff reviews resources for dependents and provides a general introduction to life in the United States, and Raleigh more specifically.  All spouses must bring their immigration documents with them to the check-in: I-20 or DS-2019, passport, visa, and I-94 printout. J-2 visa holders must also provide proof of health insurance coverage (insurance card and benefits page). Click the button below to schedule an appointment.

The spouse of an F-1 student who is in F-2 status is not permitted to work. Any F-2 spouse who desires to work or is offered employment (wages or other benefits in exchange for personal or professional services) must contact an immigration attorney or the employer’s human resources officer to explore possible immigration options for which the F-2 may be eligible.

The federal regulations do give dependents of a J-1 student or scholar (a J-2 spouse or minor child of working age – 16 to 20) the option to apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). The J-2 dependent does not need a job offer first and may apply directly to the USCIS (no recommendation or authorization from OIS is necessary).  We do offer a check list and sample request letter for you to download below.

Medical care can be extremely expensive in the United States and without health insurance a medical emergency can be financially disastrous. J-1 Exchange Visitors are required by law to maintain health insurance coverage for themselves as well as all dependents on a J-2 visa. The health insurance must meet a set of minimum federal requirements for the duration of their Exchange Visitor Program. Failure to maintain adequate health insurance coverage for the entire duration of the DS-2019 for either the J-1 or J-2 may result in termination of the J-1 visa holder’s record. More information about the health insurance requirements for J-1 and J-2 visa holders can be found here

F-1 visa holders are required to maintain health insurance that meets a set of required criteria for the entire duration of their I-20. F-2 visa holders are not required to purchase health insurance, however it is highly recommended as health care without insurance can be extremely expensive. A list of health insurance companies that provide insurance for international students, scholars, and dependents can be found here

As of fall 2015, the Student Health Insurance Plan no longer offers health insurance coverage for dependents. However, the Graduate Student Support Plan (GSSP) for Teaching and Research Assistantships does offer health insurance for dependents. Please review the Student Health Services website and the GSSP website for more information regarding coverage for dependents.

Information for Parents & Families of International Students

Parents are not eligible to attend the new student orientation, however they are encouraged to attend the International Family Orientation offered by New Student Programs. The Family Orientation will provide parents with information about what to expect as their student transitions to NC State, as well as information about the numerous campus resources available to students at NC State. Family members will also have opportunities to meet with NC State staff, current students, and other parents at orientation. Details about the International Family Orientation can be found on the New Student Programs website.

Please Note: The International Family Orientation sessions are only offered for parents of undergraduate students and registration is required.  Parents should NOT take their students out of New Student Orientation early to complete other tasks as they will miss important information in their orientation sessions.

The Office of Parents & Families Services works to nurture relationships between parents, families, and their students. The office provides several programs and events to keep parents informed and connected to NC State. To further support the parents of NC State students, Parents & Families Services offers a Parents’ Help Line to assist with questions. Call (919) 515-2441 or email for assistance.