F-1 student status is appropriate if you intend to pursue full-time studies in the United States. If you are currently in the United States as a temporary worker, diplomat, exchange visitor or any other non-immigrant classification except Visitor in WT or WB status and need to change to F-1 student status, follow the procedures indicated below. All USCIS forms are available online.
In general, non-immigrants who are maintaining lawful status may apply for change of status to F-1.
Non-immigrants subject to the Section 212 (e) two-year home residency requirement are ineligible to apply. Those in WT or WB are also ineligible. Those in F-2, B-1 or B-2 status are eligible to apply for a change of status but cannot enroll in classes until the change of status has been approved by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
You may change your status by departing the United States and re-entering in F-1 status. In order to re-enter the United States in F-1 status, you must have a valid, unexpired F-1 entry visa.
If you do not have an F-1 entry visa or need a new one, you must apply for one at a U.S. consulate in your home country. Once you have obtained an F-1 entry visa, you would then enter the United States with your visa and the following:
You may also attempt to change your status by submitting a change of status application to the USCIS. Though, if you are changing from a visitor status, this is not recommended. Your application for change of status must be received by USCIS during the period of 30 days before the program start date on your I-20 to no later than 30 days after the start date. This option requires that you assemble the following materials:
Once completed, mail your application to the USCIS. Please note that you are responsible, or your lawyer is responsible, for this process, NOT the International Education staff. Photocopy your application and send it by certified mail with a return receipt requested or by courier service to the USCIS Dallas Lockbox facility.
If an F-1 students has a dependent in F-2 status (or another status) that would like to become an F-1 student, the process is much like it is described above. Please make an appointment to see an adviser to discuss status change by calling our office at 480-461-7756.
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