A “dependent” is defined as the spouse and/or unmarried child (under the age of 21) of the primary F-1, J-1, or H-1B visa holder.

Children born in the United States, or spouses or children who are permanent U.S. residents or citizens, are not considered “dependents” for immigration purposes.

To help answer some of your questions about bringing your family to the United States on a dependent visa, the ISSO has prepared the following information:

Apply to invite a dependent (scholars only)

If you are an F-1 or J-1 Student, please click on the ISSO Portal button in the sidebar to submit a Dependent Addition Request.

Dependent Health Insurance

The commonwealth of Massachusetts requires all individuals living in Massachusetts to obtain adequate health insurance.

Medical services in the United States are expensive. A trip to the emergency room or hospitalization can result in large bills for those without adequate health insurance coverage. 

As a reminder, all J-2 dependents must maintain adequate health insurance coverage while in the United States as defined by the regulations governing the J Exchange Visitor Program.

Although F-2 dependents are not required by the U.S. federal government to obtain health insurance, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts does require all individuals residing in Massachusetts to obtain adequate health insurance. If your dependent family members do not have sufficient medical insurance coverage from their home country that extends to the United States, they will need to purchase appropriate insurance to cover them while they are living in Massachusetts.

Short-term insurance plans can be purchased in a variety of plan lengths specifically for visiting the United States.