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 $400 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.

Please note: Depending on the time of academic year, it may take up to 7-10 business days for our office to process your request once our office receives your request.

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