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Managing Dependents Overview

Last updated 23-Jan-2019

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In compliance with reporting requirements, the designated school officials (DSOs) are responsible for entering and updating information in SEVIS about the dependents of the school’s F-1 and M-1 students. The DSO may add, update, view, print, and terminate a dependent’s record.


  • 8 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 214.2(f)
  • 8 CFR 214.2(m)
  • 8 CFR 214.3

DSOs can add a dependent to an F or M student record:

  • When the student’s record is created.
  • Note: See Create Initial Form I-20 (COE) article for a description of creating the dependent record with the student record.
  • After the student’s record is created.

When DSOs add dependents, SEVIS assigns a unique SEVIS ID to each dependent record, and creates a separate Form I-20 for each dependent. This form serves as the dependent’s eligibility document for:

  • Visa issuance
  • Entering the United States as an F-2 or M-2
  • Applying for a change of status to F-2 or M-2 while inside the United States

One spouse is permitted to enter with the student.

F and M dependents who are minors accompanying their families to the United States may enter up to the age of 21. The alert list, Dependent Children Within 90 Days of 21st Birthday, lists the F-2 or M-2 children who will no longer be eligible for F-2 or M-2 status, because they will turn 21 years old within 90 days. SEVIS will terminate their record the day after their 21st birthday.


  • Before adding a dependent to a student’s record, DSOs must be sure the student can afford to have dependents here. F-2 dependents are not authorized to work.
  • DSOs should have requests to update an Initial or Active record in writing from the primary non-immigrant before acting on a request.


Icon Guide

See the SEVIS Help Icons on the SEVIS Help Hub for a quick-reference of the icons used in this user guide.