Instructions for Completing This Form

  1. Contact ISSS to make an appointment with an International Advisor. Bring the following documents to your appointment:
    • The Immigration Document Request Form
    • Evidence of financial support for your program of study for at least one year
    • Copies of your passport, visa, and any other current immigration documents
    • A copy of your current I-94
    • A completed Form I-539, Application for Change to Non-Immigrant Status
      • If you have any dependents that you are including with your application, they must each complete and sign a separate Form I-539. (Parents or guardians may sign on behalf of children under 14 or any co-applicant who is not mentally competent to sign.)
    • A check or money order for $370 made payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
    • An $85 biometrics fee, followed by an appointment at the USCIS Application Support Center closest to the primary applicant’s address; this will be scheduled after the applicant receives a biometrics services appointment notice.
      • If you have any dependents that you are including with your application, regardless of age, they must each pay an $85 biometrics fee and schedule an appointment at the same USCIS Application Support Center as the primary applicant. Co-applicants who wish to be scheduled at a different ASC location should file a separate Form I-539.
    • A letter from the student (optional): A strong letter can help convince the USCIS adjudicator of your temporary intent as well as show that you did not have a pre-conceived intention to study in the U.S.
  1. If your materials are sufficient, you will be issued an updated I-20 with the I-20 issuance reason, “Initial Attendance – Change of Status Requested.”
  2. When your I-20 is ready, the International Advisor will contact you for a follow-up appointment. Before or during this appointment, you should:
    • Sign and date your new I-20, as well as a photocopy of your new I-20 (you will keep the original and the photocopy will be mailed to USCIS)
    • Go online and pay the SEVIS I-901 fee.
      • After you have paid the fee, print a copy of the receipt to include in the mailing packet.
      • If you are unable to pay the fee during this appointment, you will need to make another follow-up appointment to meet with the advisor after you have paid the fee and printed out the receipt.
  1. ISSS will mail the packet for you to USCIS.

Additional Information

To change from a non-immigrant visa to F-1 student status within the United States, you must:

  • Be admitted to a full-time program of study at CSU
  • Provide proof of funding for 1 year’s expenses
  • Submit all change of status documents to USCIS and wait for approval

Please remember:

  • You may not work until the Change of Status to F-1 is approved. Submitting the application is not an approval.
  • If you depart the U.S. while your Change of Status application is pending, it will be considered abandoned.
  • If you depart the U.S. after your F-1 status is approved, you must apply for and receive an F-1 visa at a U.S. Embassy or consulate before you can return to the U.S. If you re-enter without doing so, your F- 1 status will be void.

NOTE: It may take up to 12 months for your application to be processed by USCIS. If you have not received a decision after 15 months from the date the application was received by USCIS, speak with an ISSS Advisor.

You can check your status at https://egov.uscis.gov/casestatus/landing.do with your receipt number.

Current Visa Type Considerations:

B-1/B-2 CONSIDERATIONS: Individuals currently in B-1/ B-2 status must first be approved for F-1 status before beginning a program of study. Enrolling in classes while still in B-1/B-2 status will result in a status violation and you will not be eligible to extend your B status or change to F-1 status. There are no exceptions to this regulation.

F-2 CONSIDERATIONS: Individuals currently in F-2 status must first be approved for F-1 status before beginning a full time program of study. Your F-1 spouse/parent must be in the U.S. and in status when you are requesting this change.

H-4 CONSIDERATIONS: H-4 dependents may study in the U.S., but the duration of their stay is dependent upon the H-1B’s period of stay. When H-4 dependent children turn 21, they are no longer considered “children” and are no longer eligible for H-4 status. To remain in the U.S., they must change to another nonimmigrant status. H-4 dependents are not subject to F-1 requirements to pursue a full course of study, but they are not eligible for F-1 benefits such as on-campus employment or practical training. Weigh the benefits carefully before changing status. Individuals in H-4 status cannot receive an assistantship until F-1 status is approved.

J-1 or J-2 CONSIDERATIONS: Individuals with J-1 or J-2 status with a two-year home residency requirement will not be able to apply for a change of status while in the U.S. You are required to travel outside of the U.S. to obtain an F-1 visa. See USCIS website for more information about changing status within the U.S.: https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/files/form/i-539instr.pdf