My wife is a student in the US. I am visiting her after I got a PhD degree several months ago in mechanical engineering in China.

My visit is about one or two years long. I plan to go back China to work after that. My question is: What can I do during my visit in the USA?

Maybe a post-doc is the best choice for me, but my research background seems not competitive enough. Moreover, I am a F2 visa holder, which means I cannot get a paid job.

  • 1
    I am not sure this is the right forum for this question. Also, if you are not allowed to get paid you might not be allowed to be payed as a postdoc either.
    – Bitwise
    Nov 21, 2014 at 20:08
  • somewhat related: academia.stackexchange.com/q/29464/10643
    – Cape Code
    Nov 21, 2014 at 20:14
  • Might be better suited for expatriates.stackexchange.com ...
    – Szabolcs
    Nov 21, 2014 at 20:17
  • 5
    If you could find employment as a post-doc, then you would typically be sponsored for a visa by your employer. That visa might be a J1 or an H1-B visa. Nov 21, 2014 at 21:22
  • @BrianBorchers Yes, it is true. Nov 21, 2014 at 21:59

1 Answer 1


If you want to work or study in a program, you must change your visa type. You can file for an adjustment of status once you have found a job that will sponsor a different visa type or matriculate into a program that will also sponsor a visa for you. Tread carefully in your job hunting as job-hunting itself may be interpreted as a violation of your status -- it would be good for you to consult with an immigration attorney (or barring that, your university's foreign student's office) before you initiate this.

Otherwise, you are unable to work or study formally. The things that you can do:

  • Use your spousal ID card to study in the library
  • Use your spousal ID card to audit classes for non-credit
  • Enjoy hobbies -- join a maker club and make giant fighting robots, learn to fly a kite, etc.
  • Take part in the activities organized by your university's foreign student/scholar office (there are many spouses in your same situation, so they tend to offer things to help pass the time)
  • Cook, clean, take care of the children, and otherwise be a fantastic spouse to your wife

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