ATTAINING F-1 STATUS:
How to Apply for a Change of Status
If you are currently in the U.S. on a nonimmigrant visa, you may be eligible to apply for a change of status
to become an F-1 student. For the most current, accurate, and detailed information on how to apply for a
change of status, visit here.
STEP 1: DETERMINE IF A CHANGE OF STATUS IS RIGHT FOR YOU
Questions to consider before applying for a change of status:
1. Which nonimmigrant visa are you on?
Those in K, S, and M-1 status are not eligible to change status to F-1. J-1 nonimmigrants subject
to the 2-year residence requirement are also ineligible.
2. Are you currently in lawful nonimmigrant status?
You must be lawfully maintaining your current visa status to apply for a change of status.
3. If you are in dependent status, is the principal visa holder maintaining status?
If you are in status as a dependent, the principal visa holder must also be maintaining status. For
instance, if you are in H-4 status, the H-1B visa holder must be currently employed and
maintaining H-1B status.
4. What is the expiration date on your I-94?
Ideally, you should apply for a change of status sufficiently in advance of the expiration date on your
I-94.
5. What is your date of birth?
Child dependents can only remain in dependent status until age 21. If you will turn 21 before your
change of status is approved, it is highly advisable to travel outside the U.S. to obtain F-1 status.
For details on how to apply for an F-1 visa while outside the U.S., see How to Apply for an F-1
Visa.
6. Are you planning to travel outside the U.S.?
If you are already planning to travel outside the U.S., you may consider applying for an F-1 visa at
a U.S. consulate outside the U.S., and then reentering in F-1 status. For more details, see How to
Apply for an F-1 Visa.
STEP 2: APPLY TO ACC TO OBTAIN A FORM I-20
To obtain a Form I-20, you will first need to apply to ACC as an international student.
A complete application packet will include:
International Student Application
$75 Application Fee
Proof of English Language Proficiency
International Student Financial Statement
Proof of Financial Resources
Proof of High School (Secondary) Graduation
Photocopy of Passport Identification Page
Emergency Contact Information
After ACC receives a complete and acceptable application packet, you will be admitted to ACC as an
international student and issued a Form I-20.
updated 9/18/2014
STEP 3: COMPILE YOUR CHANGE OF STATUS APPLICATION
A complete change of status application will include the following:
Form I-539
Form I-539 filing fee, in the form of a check or money order, payable to “U.S. Department of
Homeland Security”
Photocopy of Form I-20 signed by both student and DSO
Proof of payment of the SEVIS I-901 fee (see here for details)
Photocopies of financial support documents
Photocopy of Form I-94 (both sides of cardstock I-94 or copy of electronic I-94 printout)
Photocopy of passport biographical and expiration date information
Proof of current immigration status including:
Photocopy of I-797 approval notice
Photocopy of visa
If in H-1B status, copy of employment letter and/or pay stubs
The above documents of the principal, if you are currently in status as a dependent
Dependent family member documentation (if applicable)
Letter explaining your intent to study (optional; recommended for B-1/B-2 visa holders)
Photocopy of school admission letter or, if already enrolled, academic transcript (optional)
Form G-1145
, clipped to the first page of your application packet (optional; if you would like to
receive an email or a text message that your application has been received by USCIS)
STEP 4: SUBMIT YOUR APPLICATION TO USCIS
Have your advisor review your application for accuracy (if you want).
Make a photocopy of your completed application to keep for your records.
If filing by paper, mail the package to the correct USCIS filing address. If in Colorado, those
addresses are:
U.S. Postal Service:
USCIS California Service Center
P.O. Box 10129
Laguna Niguel, CA 92607-1012
USPS Express Mail/Courier:
USCIS California Service Center
24000 Avila Road, 2
nd
Floor, Room 2312
Laguna Niguel, CA 92677
Ask the post office for delivery confirmation.
Or, if filing electronically, scan documents and submit online via USCIS ELIS.
STEP 5: WAIT FOR YOUR CHANGE OF STATUS TO BE APPROVED
View current processing times for changes of status here.
If you are currently in F-2 or B-1/B-2 status, you must wait to begin classes until your change of status is
approved. Otherwise, you should begin classes by the program start date listed on your Form I-20, even if
your change of status is still pending.
If you have additional questions, please contact your advisor.
updated 9/18/2014
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