If you are currently in the U.S. in a non-immigrant status and wish to begin a full-time program of study, you may need to change your status to F-1 or J-1 student status.

There are two ways to obtain F-1 or J-1 student status.  You can either apply for an F-1 entry visa at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy or you can submit an application to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)  to have your status changed in the U.S.

Both options require that you obtain admission to the University or to  The Center for American Language and Culture as well as a Certificate of Eligibility from this office.

Please read the following information with regards to Change of Status (COS) in the U.S.:

  • Individuals in B-2 status are not permitted to study full-time until they have obtained F-1 or J-1 non-immigrant student status.
  • An F-2 dependent may study part-time in any certified program at an SEVP-certified school. An F-2 dependent may engage in a course of study that does not amount to what regulations define as full-time for an F-1.
  • Individuals in F-2 status may not accept employment or engage in business under any circumstances. If you are in F-2 status and you are offered an assistantship, your COS must be approved before you can accept it.
  • You must be able to maintain your current, legal nonimmigrant status until the change of status application is approved.
  • Before you can submit a change of status application to USCIS you must first
  • You will receive an email from ISSS when the I-20 is ready. When you receive the email, schedule an appointment.
  • If your I-94 has expired, ISSS cannot assist you with a change of status. You should seek the services of an immigration attorney.
  • You must be in a nonimmigrant status that allows for a change of status.
  • A nonimmigrant who travels abroad while an application for change of status is pending is considered to have abandoned the change of status application. The Department of Homeland Security will deny the application if they become aware of the departure.
  • Individuals in B-2 status may not begin studying or working on campus until the change of status is approved by USCIS. Individuals in H-4 status may begin studying but may not work (including assistantships) until the change of status is approved.
  • Generally, the current nonimmigrant status of a change of status applicant must be valid at the time the change of status application is received by USCIS and must remain valid up until the date that the new status is requested to begin.
  • Please visit the ICE website for details on study guidelines and restrictions for nonimmigrant visa holders.

Additional informaton on Changing to a Nonimmigrant F or M Student Status is also available on the USCIS website.​

See the advantages and disadvantages of a change of status in the U.S. as well as travel outside the U.S.