Family and Dependents

Students, exchange visitors, and UAH employees who wish to bring their family members to the U.S. stay with them have two potential options to consider. Family members may be interested in staying with you in the U.S. for a short period of time or for the duration of your EV program/employment at UAH. The options you have to bring family to the U.S. depend on the nature of the familial relationship and the length of time the family member plans to stay in the U.S.:

  1. If the family member is a spouse or a dependent child (unmarried children under the age of 21 years) the family member is eligible for derivative status; for example, F-2, J-2, and H-4, classifications can be obtained by dependents holding F-1, J-1, and H1-B, status respectively. Canadian citizens will not require visa stamps in their passports, but they must still be admitted to the United States with the proper non-immigrant classification at the port of entry. The status of the dependent will last for the duration of the primary visa holder’s non-immigrant status. In all cases adequate funding to support the invited family members must be demonstrated in order to obtain appropriate immigration documents and at the visa interview. Evidence of funding in the amount of $4000 per year for a spouse or adult family member, and $2500 per year per child must be documented in order to obtain a dependent F-2 I-20 or J-2 DS-2019 form.
  2. If the family member is not a spouse or dependent child or if the family member intends to come to Huntsville for a one time visit, then the family member can apply for a B1/B2 tourist status (for example, a parent, sibling, child over the age of 21, or fiancée). The maximum period that a visitor will initially be admitted in B1/B2 status is six months.

Visa Processing

A family member is encouraged apply for a dependent visa to come to the United States with the principal visa holder. Dependents should visit the consulate with the principal visa holder to apply for visa stamps as a family. The consular officer will expect to see legal documents establishing the dependent’s relationship to the principal visa holder. The principal visa holder must also provide documents establishing his or her eligibility for the F-1, J-1, or H1-B visa. Contact the embassy/consulate ahead of time and refer to the US Department of State website section for non-immigrant visas to find out which documents are required to establish relationship to the principal visa holder. Consulate officials will also expect to see proof of adequate financial support for family members.

If family member(s) choose to apply for a visa and travel to the United States separately from the principal visa holder, they will need legal documents establishing their relationship to the principal visa holder, documents showing proof of financial support during their stay in the United States, and documentation that the principal visa holder is maintaining legal status in the U.S. In addition, depending on the status the dependent will hold in the United States, they will need the following documents:

F-2 or J-2: SEVIS Form I-20 or DS-2019 issued to dependent. To obtain a dependent I-20 or DS-2019 form, please complete an I-20/DS-2019 request form and include the spouse/dependent information and financial documents needed by the ISSO.

H-4: Original I-797 approval notice, photocopy of the entire H1B petition submitted by UAH to USCIS, and employment letter from the UAH department or center stating the details of employment (name, job title, salary, and employment dates as indicated on the I-797 approval notice). The original I-797 approval notice is kept on file in the ISSO, as is the petition submitted to USCIS.

TD: Original I-797 approval notice or a copy of the front and back of the I-94 card showing admission of the TN to the U.S. and employment letter from UAH department or center stating the details of employment (name, job title, salary, and employment dates). Canadian Citizens are not required to obtain the visa stamp prior to requesting admission to the U.S. in TD status. Mexican Citizens must apply for the TD visa stamp and then request admission at a U.S. Port of Entry.