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Arriving at ASU

Change to F-1 status

Change to F-1 status

An F-1 student is a nonimmigrant who is pursuing a full course of study to achieve a specific educational or professional objective at an academic institution in the US. Once the educational objectives have been achieved, the F-1 student is expected to return to his or her residence abroad.


Change of Status through USCIS

  • If you choose to apply for your change of status through USCIS (refer to the detailed steps below), you may not depart the U.S. while your Change of Status application is pending as it is considered abandonment of the application and will result in USCIS denying your application.
  • Until you can submit to the ASU ISSC the formal evidence of USCIS’s approval of your F-1 status, you will not be eligible for any employment under the F-1 status.
  • The change of status application through USCIS can take anywhere from 6-12 months. Please see USCIS processing times for more information.
    • • Due to this long processing time, you may consider the travel and re-entry option (refer to the detailed steps below)
    • • You may have to defer to the following academic term if your change of status application has not been processed by the original program start date listed on the I-20 (this also requires a deferral of your I-20).
  • If you are interested in Premium Processing for your application, please visit the USCIS Premium Processing webpage for details.
  • Please keep in mind that the Change of status process through USCIS does not give you a visa. If you plan to travel after approval, you would need to apply for the visa before traveling back to the U.S.

There are two ways to obtain or change to F-1 status

Obtaining an F-1 status through travel and re-entry

01

Current students must meet with an immigration advisor from the ISSC to discuss your plan to change your status to F-1 status.

(Newly admitted students should contact Admission Services to request an initial I-20).

02

Request an I-20 from the ISSC through the Change of Status eForm sent to you after your meeting with the ISSC immigration advisor.

03

Pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee after receiving your I-20.

04

Travel outside the United States (U.S.), then use your initial I-20 to apply for an F-1 visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Students using a Canadian passport do not need to obtain an F-1 visa.

Remember to sign your I-20!

05

Once you receive your new F-1 visa, please submit a copy of your visa to the Approval Notice/Visa Upload eForm through the link provided to you in the Change of Status approval email so that we may update your status.

06

Use your new F-1 visa and initial I-20 to return to the U.S. at any time on or after the Earliest Admission Date on your I-20 and prior to the Program State Date on your I-20.

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07

After you re-enter the U.S. through a U.S. port of entry, obtain your new I-94 detailing your F-1 status.

08

Log in to My ASU and complete your SEVIS New Student Check-in.

Obtaining an F-1 status through USCIS

01

Meet with an immigration advisor from the ISSC to discuss your plan to change your status to F-1 status.

02

Request an I-20 from the ISSC through the Change of Status eForm sent to you after your meeting with the ISSC immigration advisor.

03

Pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee after receiving your I-20.

04

File Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status along with all supporting documents.

If you are interested in Premium Processing for your application, please visit the USCIS Premium Processing webpage for details.

Not all nonimmigrant classifications may change status through USCIS. Read the instructions carefully to ensure that you are eligible, and consult with an advisor.

05

In order to be eligible for a Change of Status you must qualify for Form I‐20 and be maintaining your current status.

We highly recommend you contact an immigration attorney for more assistance and additional guidance.

06

Once you receive your receipt notice from USCIS please upload it to the Receipt Notice I-539 eForm through the link provided in the Change of Status approval email.

07

Receive Form I-797A, Notice of Action confirming your change of status to F-1.

If USCIS denies your application, be prepared to leave the U.S. when your current status expires.

08

Submit a copy of Form I-797A, Notice of Action and any additional documents you receive from USCIS to the ISSC as soon as possible to the Approval Notice/Visa Upload eForm through the link provided in the Change of Status approval email.

Please be reminded that change of status approval or denial is the sole authority of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).