Information for Dependents and Family

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 (Spouses) of Students and Scholars

Resource Guides 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 Clubs, cooking classes, children playgroups and many volunteer opportunities which will help them get connected and get involved in the local community.


^ Click to view

Visas for Dependents (J-2 and F-2)

Most international students and scholars prefer their spouse and children to 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 I-20/DS-2019 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 the 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. OIS offers notary services, but you must call (919) 515-2961 or email to schedule an appointment. 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 the Forms for International Students webpage.

OIS Check-in for Dependents

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 spouse 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 travel 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.


Employment Opportunities for Dependents

The spouse of an F-1 student who is in F-2 status is not permitted to study or 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. 

Educational Opportunities for Dependents

Minor dependent children are required to attend school until they are at least 18 years old and although public education for kindergarten through high school in the US is free, there are numerous school options, types of schools, and varying schedules. The spouse of an F-1 student who is in F-2 status is not permitted to study (or be enrolled), although they may attend part-time English conversation programs in the community. An F-2 student who applies to a school or college and is admitted must speak with the appropriate school official about applying for a change of status to F-1 or other immigration option that would permit enrollment. 

Health Insurance for Dependents 

It is mandatory that all international students and scholars purchase medical insurance for their dependents. Medical costs are extremely high in the United States and not having coverage could be disastrous in case of a medical emergency. J-1 Exchange Visitors are required by law to have health insurance (for themselves and all J-2 dependent family members) that meets minimum federal requirements for the duration of their Exchange Visitor Program

Information for Parents & Families of International Students

A Message to Parents & Families of International Undergraduate Students

Congratulations on your student’s acceptance to NC State University! We have prepared a letter for the parents of international undergraduate students that contains important information about your student’s transition to NC State.  For your convenience, we have translated the letter into several languages.

Message to Parents (English)

Message to Parents (Mandarin)

Message to Parents (Arabic)

Message to Parents (Korean)

Message to Parents (Portuguese)

Message to Parents (French)

Message to Parents (Spanish)

Message to Parents (German)

Message to Parents (Russian)

Parents’ Orientation

Parents are not eligible to attend the student orientation, however they are encouraged to attend the Parents’ Orientation offered by New Student Programs. The Parents’ 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. Parents will also have opportunities to meet with NC State staff, current students, and other parents at orientation. Details about the Parents’ Orientation can be found on the New Student Programs website.

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

Parents & Families Services

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.