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Change Your Visa Status


A change from another non-immigrant status to F-1 student status must be done at least 45 days prior to the expiration of the current status.

IMPORTANT! Please read before proceeding with your change of status application.
  • Complete the admissions process and be eligible to receive the I-20 before filing a change of status application.

  • Plan to complete the admissions process and submit the complete change of status application packet so that it can be received by the USCIS at least 45 days prior to the I-94 expiration date.

  • USCIS may approve a change of status request, but it will not change the entry visa that is stamped in the passport. Students who obtain a change of status in the U.S. must visit a U.S. Consulate to obtain the F-1 visa after leaving the U.S. for any reason. This visa cannot be obtained in the U.S.

  • Change of status applications take a minimum of 180 days, and may take as long as one year to process. While waiting for the application to be approved, B-1/B-2 and F-2 status holders are not permitted to enroll in classes until change of status to F-1has been approved by USCIS.

  • In addition to the required documents for requesting a change to F-1 status and alien wishing to change status from a nonimmigrant dependent (e.g., an F-2 spouse) must establish that he or she has been maintaining valid dependent status. Since the status of a dependent is dependent on the status of the principal, he or she must provide evidence of the validity of the status of principal, including copies of the principal’s Form I-94 and any other status document.

    For example, an F-2 spouse who wishes to apply for F-1 status must apply prior to his/her spouse’s leaving the U.S. or changing to another status.

  • There is no guarantee that a change of status application will be approved. The most common reasons for denial:
    • Fraudulent entry (e.g. the person entered the U.S. as a tourist, but always had the intention of becoming a student).

    • Filing the application too late (when previous status has already expired).

    • Insufficient financial documentation.

Upon confirmation of eligibility, the following documents must be submitted to USCIS for a change of status:
  1. Form I-539, Application for Change of Nonimmigrant status.

  2. Form I-20 issued by the school you wish to attend.

  3. Copies of valid I-94 card and copies of passport pages which include biographical, signature, passport expiration, and visa page. (Copies of dependents’ passports pages are required if included in application).

  4. Money order payable to Department of Homeland Security. Please check current fees at: http://www.uscis.gov (link is external)

  5. Pay SEVIS fee on http://www.fmjfee.com (link is external) and print out receipt.

  6. Financial statements (Affidavit of Support, Sponsorship Letter, and bank statements). It is necessary to show that the applicant has sufficient funds to meet expenses for at least the first year and to show a source of income from subsequent years. Additional funds are required for each dependent.

The following documents are required:
* A copy of most recent W-2 form, tax return, or employment verification letter including annual salary may be required.

Personal letter of request and any additional documentation as recommended by an international student advisor is required. This Sample Letter is provided as an example of the type of information that should be provided with your application for change of status. Please modify it as needed to reflect your situation.

The Multicultural Center will assist you with any questions regarding your application. All documents need to be submitted to the Multicultural Center. You are required to keep the Multicultural Center informed of any change in your address or phone number.

If you have any questions, please contact us at the Multicultural Center.