Family Support

  • The International Student Office, together with the entire Gannon University community, warmly welcomes our international student and scholar family members. We are here to assist you with your immigration documentation and questions, as well as to support you in your own adjustment to life in Erie, PA.

    Immigration and Legal Concerns

    Spouses are welcome to visit the ISO during office hours or may request an appointment to discuss immigration issues relative to the F-2 or J-2 status.

    • The student in F-1 or J-1 status is primarily responsible for maintaining the status upon which the dependent status is based.
    • Spouses and children carry their own immigration documents when traveling.
    • F-2 dependents are not eligible for employment, and thus not eligible for a Social Security number.
    • Each year dependents should file a form 8843 with the IRS.   
    • F-2 students may participate only in recreational/craft or part-time ESL classes. Those admitted to a degree program must seek a change of status to F-1 and can not begin study until the change of status is granted, unless the F-2 dependent is a minor formerly studying at the primary or secondary level.
    • F-2 dependents are eligible for a Pennsylvania state driver's license, but should seek assistance from the ISO in order to assemble the required identity and immigration documents.

    Cultural Adjustment and Assistance

    Keep in mind that even if spouses and children may not be adjusting to a new academic environment, certainly each person entering a new culture will go through many of the same phases of adjustment and will require community support. The ISO invites spouses, with or without accompanying children, to stop in for discussion or assistance at any time during our office hours or to enter into direct correspondence with ISO staff.

    English Language Skills

    Gannon University offers an ESL program. International spouses are welcome to apply for ESL. Spouses may also apply for a partner through the Conversation Partners Program. 

    Family Visits from Abroad

    The ISO assists in organizing documents for a family visit from abroad. Students may request a letter in support of any relative who will need to go to a U.S. Consulate to secure an entrance visa.