Change of Status to the F-1 Student Visa Category
Note: The change of status application is the responsibility of the applicant. An experienced immigration lawyer is best positioned to advise on all aspects of any change of status application.
Due to long processing times, the applicant may want to travel home to apply for an F-1 visa rather than apply for a change of status in the United States.
- Maintain your current immigration status while your change of status application is pending.**This may involve a separate application for extension to your existing status. If you are currently in B-1 or B-2 status, and that status will expire more than 30 days before the start date listed on your I-20, you must file an I-539 application (with a separate fee) to request an extension.
- While your I-539 is pending, you must maintain your B-1 or B-2 status and cannot enroll in your SEVP-certified program until USCIS approves your change of status request. Enrolling in a course of study as a B-1 or B-2 nonimmigrant prior to receiving authorization will result in a status violation and ineligibility to extend your B status or change to F-1 status in the future.
- You must physically remain in the United States after your application has been filed; otherwise, USCIS will cancel your request.
Change of status application processing times can be lengthy. Check the USCIS website for an estimated time range and answers to frequently asked questions.
- If F-1 status is approved and you plan to leave the United States, you must visit the U.S. Consulate in your home country to receive the appropriate F-1 visa in your passport in order to re-enter the United States.
- If your change of status application is not approved by the I-20 program start date, Tri-C will defer your admission to the next available semester. You may be asked to present an updated bank statement.
- Approval is not guaranteed. If you are denied a visa, USCIS will notify you of the section of law that applies to your case.
Change of Status Process
Once all application requirements are met, you will receive an acceptance letter from Tri-C and a Form I-20 within two weeks. You may begin preparing the required documents in Step 2 for your mail-in application to USCIS.
Prepare the documents necessary to mail your change of status application to USCIS. Download the checklist of required documents here.
Mail the change of status application to USCIS. Click here for the most updated address information.
You will receive a receipt from USCIS with the case number in the top left corner. You must provide a copy of this receipt to your international student adviser. Check your case status by entering your receipt number at Case Status Online.
USCIS will mail you a Form I-797 Notice of Action indicating the results of your application. You must provide a copy of this form to your international student adviser.
Contact your international student adviser and proceed with registration for 12 or more credit hours in the first available semester.