If you are an F2 visa holder, you may be wondering whether you are allowed to work in the United States. The answer is not a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the F2 visa program, its restrictions, and what options may be available to you.
Overview of the F2 Visa Program
The F2 visa is a nonimmigrant visa that is intended for dependents of foreign nationals who are holding an F1 student visa. It is also available to dependents of foreign nationals who are holding a J1 exchange visitor visa, but only if the J1 visa holder is subject to the two-year foreign residency requirement.
The primary purpose of the F2 visa is to keep families together while the F1 or J1 visa holder is studying or engaging in academic or cultural exchange programs in the United States. The F2 visa is also intended to enable dependents to accompany their spouse or parent to the US while they carry out their program.
F2 Visa Restrictions
F2 visa holders are not authorized to work in the United States in most circumstances. They are classified as ‘dependents’ and therefore are not permitted to engage in commercial activities that generate income.
However, F2 visa holders are allowed to study part-time or full-time as long as they remain enrolled in a SEVP-certified institution. They can also take part in volunteer work or unpaid internships as long as they are not displacing or taking a job from a U.S. worker.
If F2 visa holders would like to work in the US, they will need to obtain valid work authorization.
Comparison of F2 and Other Visa Types
While the F2 visa program does not provide work authorization to its holders, there are other visa types that may be more suitable for individuals who want to work in the US.
For example, an F1 visa allows international students to work part-time on-campus during their first academic year and apply for off-campus work authorization in their second year. They may also be eligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT) and Curricular Practical Training (CPT) programs that allow them to gain work experience in their field of study in the US.
Individuals who are holding a J1 visa may be authorized to work if their program sponsor approves it. However, J1 visa holders are subject to a two-year foreign residency requirement, which means that they must return to their home country for a minimum of two years before they can apply for an H or L visa, or permanent residency in the US.
Top Industries and Roles Where F2 Visa Holders Can Work
F2 visa holders who wish to work in the US must first obtain valid work authorization. The application process for work authorization will depend on the individual’s situation and the type of work they wish to undertake.
Some of the top industries where F2 visa holders can work include:
- Marketing and Corporate Communications
However, the specific roles that F2 visa holders can apply for will depend on their skills, qualifications, and previous work experience.
Requirements and Procedures for Obtaining a Work Permit/EAD Card
To obtain work authorization, F2 visa holders must apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD card) from USCIS. The EAD card is issued for a period of one year and can be renewed as needed.
To apply for an EAD card, F2 visa holders must submit the following:
- Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization
- A copy of their valid passport
- A copy of their F2 visa
- Proof of the relationship between the F1 or J1 visa holder and the F2 visa holder
- Two passport-style photographs
- The filing fee
The processing time for an EAD card is typically 2-5 months. It is important to note that F2 visa holders cannot begin working until they have received their EAD card.
Important Things to Consider When Transitioning from F2 Visa to Work Visa
F2 visa holders who wish to work in the US must be aware of the requirements for transitioning from an F2 visa to a work visa. The specific requirements will depend on the type of visa they wish to obtain and their individual circumstances.
One common option for F2 visa holders is to obtain an F1 visa and pursue an academic program that will lead to Optional Practical Training (OPT) or Curricular Practical Training (CPT) employment. F2 visa holders who are interested in this option should research the academic programs that interest them and work with their school’s international student office to prepare for the transition.
Another option for F2 visa holders is to obtain an H1B visa, which is a temporary work visa available to workers in specialty occupations. However, H1B visas are subject to an annual cap and are highly competitive, so it may take time and preparation to secure one.
In summary, F2 visa holders are not authorized to work in the United States by default. They must obtain valid work authorization, which can be obtained through an EAD card application. While F2 visa holders face many restrictions, there are several options available for those who wish to work in the US, including pursuing an academic program or obtaining an H1B visa. F2 visa holders who are interested in obtaining work authorization should research their options thoroughly and work with experienced immigration attorneys who can help them navigate the complex legal requirements.
- F2 visa holders are not authorized to work in the US by default.
- F2 visa holders must obtain valid work authorization, which can be obtained through an EAD card application.
- F2 visa holders have several options available to them, including pursuing an academic program or obtaining an H1B visa.
- The application process for work authorization will depend on the individual’s situation and the type of work they wish to undertake.
- F2 visa holders who wish to work in the US should work with experienced immigration attorneys who can help them navigate the complex legal requirements.
Can F2 visa holders work part-time or full-time in the US?No, F2 visa holders are not authorized to work in the US by default. They need to obtain valid work authorization to work in the US.
What is the difference between an F1 visa and F2 visa?An F1 visa is a student visa that allows international students to study full-time in the United States. An F2 visa is intended for dependents of F1 visa holders who want to accompany them to the US.
Can F2 visa holders study in the US?Yes, F2 visa holders are allowed to study part-time or full-time as long as they remain enrolled in a SEVP-certified institution.