Can F2 Visa Holders Work in the USA?

F2 visa holders are the dependents of F1 visa holders who are usually students. F2 visa holders are not allowed to work in the USA by default, as they are not issued work permits alongside their visas. However, certain circumstances may allow F2 visa holders to work in the USA. This article will explore the legality of working on an F2 visa, any restrictions or limitations that may exist, and the steps that F2 visa holders can take to obtain work authorization.

Legal Framework

F2 visa holders are not permitted to work in the USA, but there are specific exceptions to this rule. F2 visa holders must obtain work authorization from the USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services) before starting employment in the USA.

The USCIS has particular work authorization programs for F2 visa holders, such as the Employment Authorization Document (EAD). An EAD is a permit that authorizes F2 visa holders to work in the USA.

Restrictions and Limitations

There are significant restrictions that F2 visa holders must know before applying for work authorization. According to USCIS guidelines, F2 visa holders who are under the age of 18 are not allowed to work, and F2 spouses may also be limited in the kind of work they can do in some states.

Additionally, F2 visa holders who want to work must apply for work authorization through the USCIS. The duration of work authorization depends on the employment position and the EAD issue date. F2 visa holders must also renew their EAD before it expires to continue working lawfully in the USA.

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Steps to Obtain Work Authorization

F2 visa holders interested in working must take the following steps to obtain work authorization:

  1. Determine Eligibility: Verify eligibility by examining USCIS regulations, such as your current visa status, your spouse’s visa status, and your current state of residency.

  2. Gather Required Documents: Collect supportive documentation to provide as evidence of the need to work.

  3. Complete and File Form I-765: File the form with the USCIS and pay the required fee.

  4. Wait for EAD: Once USCIS approves your work authorization, you will receive an EAD allowing you to work in the USA.

Key Takeaways

  • F2 visa holders cannot work unless they have work authorization from the USCIS.
  • F2 visa holders may be issued an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) that permits them to work in the USA under specific circumstances.
  • F2 visa holders must file Form I-765 with the USCIS to apply for work authorization.
  • F2 visa holders must renew their EAD before it expires to continue working lawfully in the USA.


Q. Can F2 visa holders work from home?

A. Yes, F2 visa holders are permitted by USCIS to work from home under some given circumstances. It is best to consult with an immigration attorney before starting any employment arrangements.

Q. Can F2 visa holders work part-time or full-time?

A. Yes, F2 visa holders may work both part-time and full-time, but they must apply for work authorization from the USCIS before starting any employment.

Q. Can F2 visa holders volunteer?

A. Yes, F2 visa holders are allowed by USCIS to volunteer in non-profit organizations, but they cannot receive any salary, stipend, or compensation in-kind.

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About the Author

Raymond Broady

Raymond is immigration attorney based in Los Angeles, California. He has a law degree from Harvard University and has been practicing immigration law for over two decades. Raymond is passionate about helping clients navigate the complexities of the US immigration system, and he shares his knowledge and expertise on the blog. His articles are informative and detailed, providing readers with valuable insights into US immigration policies and procedures.

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