For U.S. citizens, 18-year-olds are considered to be adults and they have the right to vote. But in immigration law, somebody is considered a child if they’re under the age of 21. If you’re all still on visas by the time they turn 21, they will need to find their own path to staying in the United States. They’re no longer allowed to be included as a dependent with the principal’s immigration status.
Duration of Stay
Dependent visas are usually granted for the same period of stay as the principal. Typically, a dependent will not be allowed to stay longer than the primary person in the family with that main immigration status.
2 Ways to Become a Dependent on Somebody Else’s Visa
- Consular processing (outside of the U.S)
- Change of status within the U.S.
Requirements (for consular processing)
- Your spouse needs to have an approved I-129. Or if they’re on an E visa status such as an investor or a trading visa, they would need to have that visa already in their passport.
- You need to be married to the person so it doesn’t count for fiances.
- If it’s for a kid, you’ll need to show the proof of the relationship (ex. birth certificate).
What Spouses on Dependent Visa Status Can Do in the U.S.
Spouses are allowed to get a tax identification number that can be used in tax forms. They’re also allowed to attend school, get a driver’s license, open bank accounts, apply for credit cards, and travel in and out of the country if you have a multiple entry visa. You are also allowed to volunteer. In some categories, the spouse may apply for a work permit.
For more information and resources on dependent visas, check out Immigration Law for Tech Startups podcast. If you’d like to listen, head over to 018: Dependent Visas and Work Permits.