For Families

We would like to welcome you to Cornell and to Ithaca! Whether you will stay in Ithaca for a month, 12 months, or longer, we hope that your time here will be a positive experience! 

Check out Cornell's Students with Families website which provides information for spouses and partners, expectant parents, students with children, and includes a resource directory.


At Cornell, the majority of international students and academic staff are accompanied by “dependent” family members holding F2, J2 or H4 visas. If you hold a different type of visa, and have a question about work authorization or taking classes, please visit IS and speak with an advisor.

Work Authorization

Family members holding F2, H4 or B2 visas may NOT be employed in the United States. J2 dependents ARE eligible to apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS, formerly the INS), in order to be employed in the U.S.


Taking casual courses is permitted for most visa categories. If you would like to pursue a “course of study” (generally defined as full-time and/or working towards earning a degree) please speak with the ISSO (particularly if you hold an F2 or B2 visa).

Cornell's Work/Life Consultant

Check out the Cornell Work/Life web page for resources.


Cornell Health

Cornell Health provides a broad range of medical and counseling support services for students, spouses and same-sex partners and children over age 14.

Planned Parenthood of Tompkins County

Planned Parenthood of Tompkins County located in Ithaca, provides sexual and reproductive health care services and counseling.

Obstetric and Gynecologic Care (OB-GYN)

OB-GYN Associates of Ithaca specialize in the obstetric and gynecologic care of women of all ages.

Public Health Department

Public Health Department of Tompkins County offers information on a wide range of topics including immunizations, health promotion programs, and WIC a supplemental nutrition program for women, infants and children.

Mental Health

"Let's Talk"

"Let's Talk" is a program that provides easy access to students and their spouses for informal confidential consultations with counselors from Cornell Health Services. Counselors hold walk-in hours at 10 sites around campus Monday through Friday. There is no fee and no appointment is necessary. International Services is one of the "Let's Talk" sites. Walk-in service available every Monday from 2:30-4:30 pm.

Off-Campus Counseling

Family and Children's Service located in downtown Ithaca is an organization that provides accessible mental health care for all ages, at any stage of life. Counseling for college students provides assistance in meeting the challenges of life during college, graduate and professional school by encouraging healthy personal choices and balanced perspectives.

The Mental Health Association in Tompkins County provides many resources including a list of Mental Health Professionals in Private Practice.

Resources for Families with Children

Check out Cornell's Students with Families website which provides information for spouses and partners, expectant parents, students with children, and includes a resource directory.

Fun Activities, Volunteering & Other Resources

Family-Friendly Activities on Campus and in the Community

Sign up for the Cornell Parent News. This newsletter connects Cornellians to Cornell sponsored family friendly events, activities, and workshops.

Check out fun classes, children's playgroups, festivals and other activities at Ithaca Family Fun

The Graduate School offers many resources and programs for partners and families such as Spouse/Partner job search help, Spouse/Partner Happy Hour at the Big Red Barn, child care grant program and monthly Time Out dinners. Keep current with information that directly impacts students with children on Facebook.

Take a Class!

Volunteering & Community Service

If you are new to a community, sometimes the best way to meet people is to volunteer with a local organization:

— Adult Literacy Project
— Friends of the Library
— American Red Cross
— AIDS Work
— Habitat for Humanity
— SPCA (Animal Shelter)
— Ithaca Youth Bureau

Cornell International Friendship Program

The International Friendship Program (CIFP) matches students and scholars with local alumni and other community members who are committed to providing cultural, educational and social support. This program is intended to enhance the lives of all participants who will share experiences, learn new skill sets, and build lifelong relationships. Popular activities may include sharing holiday dinners, sight-seeing, picnicking, shopping and including the student in family celebrations or events.