There are two ways to change your immigration status.
Travel out of the US and applying at a US consulate for a new type of visa stamp and then re-enter the US in the new visa classification.
Send in an application to a USCIS service center while remaining within the US.
We recommend reaching out to your ISS advisor to discuss your eligibility and the timing of your application.
Applying for a Change of Status
USCIS reviews applications based on an applicant’s ability to document and justify a change of intent after arrival to the United States. Applications are approved at the discretion of the USCIS adjudicator.
Please note that your current non-immigrant status must be valid at the time the application is received at USCIS. Your current status will continue to be valid up until the date that the new status requested begins. If USCIS determines that the change would be approved more than 30 days in advance of the program start date, there is a chance your application could be denied.
Complete Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. Available on www.uscis.gov.
Pay application fees: Filing fee for I-539, by check or money order payable to Department of Homeland Security For each applicant a biometric services fee, by check or money order payable to Department of Homeland Security
Please be sure to check the All Forms section of the USCIS website (under Form Details) for current fees.
Copy of picture page of passport. Passport MUST be valid for next six months.
If including dependents in the application, provide copies of their immigration documents as well.
All documents must be stapled together and mailed to the appropriate USCIS address as stated on the I-539 instructions. Our office will be happy to mail your application for you.
Filing fee information is available on the All Forms page of the USCIS website (under Form Details). Please be sure to check this site before submitting your application as all fees are subject to change.
Additional Documentation Requirements
Along with the documents listed above, you must provide additional documentation specific to your change of status request:
Copy of applicant’s previous I-20 showing him or her listed as an F1 student
Copies of spouse or parent F-1 immigration documents (I-20, visa, I-94)
Official transcripts for applicant and F-1 spouse or parent.
Marriage or Birth Certificate proving relationship to F-1 student.
Notes: Applicants must maintain their F-1 immigration status (remain a full-time student) until the application is approved. Once the application is approved, all coursework and employment must immediately cease.
Applications by individuals who have already applied to US schools from abroad or who apply for a change of status shortly after entry to the United States, are routinely denied. However, if the B-2 visa is marked prospective student, the change of status may be approved. The F-1 status must be approved before study can begin.