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Change of Status

Change of Status to F-1: With certain exceptions, most non-immigrants are eligible to request a change of status to F-1. Please meet with an OIS advisor to discuss the best option for changing your status. Please note:
  • J-1 exchange visitors who are subject to the two-year home residence requirement (Section 212[e]) are not eligible for a change of status unless a waiver (form I-612) is granted by USCIS.
  • F-2 dependents may not begin studying until the change of status to F-1 status has been approved.
  • H-4  dependents may not begin working until the change of status is approved.
  • B-1/B-2 visitors may not begin to study until a change of status to F-1 has been granted.
  • H-1B  workers must remain employed and maintain status until the requested begin date of the F-1. (An H-1B maintains status by remaining employed as disclosed on your employer's I-129.)

Two Options to Change your Status:

  1.)  Change of status while remaining in the U.S.: This option takes approximately four to six months to process. You must maintain your current status until your change of status is approved. Contact OIS to schedule an appointment with an advisor to begin the change of status process. Please see our Change of Status Form for an overview of the process.
Please note that you will not have the privileges of F-1 student status (working on campus, applying for practical training, etc.) until the change is approved by USCIS. Once USCIS has made a decision, they will send you a Form I-797 Notice of Action or Decision Letter. You must check-in with the Office of International Services (OIS) once you receive your approval from USCIS. 
  2.) Change of Status Via Travel: This is a faster option and requires you to apply for an F-1 visa at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy and then entering the U.S. in F-1 status. Click here for a list of Consulates and Embassies. You should review the website of the embassy or consulate you are applying to in order to see what additional documents are necessary, and how far in advance to plan for consular processing.
You must request an initial I-20 for travel from the Office of International Services and pay the SEVIS I-901 fee prior to applying for the visa.  Please contact OIS for more information on how to apply for an F-1 visa.