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Change of Status

To F-1 Status

You may need to change your nonimmigrant status if you are already in the United States on a valid nonimmigrant visa for a purpose other than attending school and are interested in studying at a U.S. school. 

There are two options to change your nonimmigrant status to F-1 status:

Travel and Reentry

This process requires that you travel outside of the United States to apply for an F-1 student visa stamp at a U.S. embassy or consulate. Please check the relevant U.S. embassy or consulate website where you will be applying for your visa for important information about the F-1 visa process and processing time.

Steps to obtain an F-1 visa through Travel and Reentry 
    • Obtain an I-20
      • Current ASU students should contact the ASU ISSC at (480) 727-4776 to schedule an appointment to meet with an advisor to request an I-20.
    • Once you receive the I-20 sign it and then pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee.
    • Travel outside the United States and use the new I-20 to apply for an F-1 visa stamp at the U.S. embassy or consulate. Canadian students do not need to obtain a visa stamp.
    • Use the new F-1 visa and I-20 to return to the U.S. any time during the 30 day period prior to the start date on your I-20.
    • After you enter the United States through a U.S. port-of-entry you will be able to download a new I-94 reflecting your F-1 status.
    • Complete mandatory SEVIS New Student Check-in by the first day of class.

Change of Status (COS)

This is the process to request the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services change your current visa status to F-1 while remaining in the United States. At this time the ISSC strongly discourages applying for a COS from within the U.S.

There are significant problems created by:

  • the very long time USCIS is currently taking to process COS applications
  • the requirement that you maintain your current status up until 30 days before your program start date
    • The above requirement may cause you to need to file and pay for one or more additional "bridge application(s)" to extend your status or acquire another status while the COS application is pending.
      • If you choose to go through with filing an application for a Change of Status, ASU ISSC strongly recommends you engage an Immigration attorney to guide you in the process to protect your Immigration/Visa Status
      • Note that you cannot continue to enroll at ASU under the B1-B2 status. Do not choose this as a “Bridge” visa option.
REMINDERS
  • Do not depart the United States while your COS 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 become eligible for any employment under the F-1 status.

Again, at this time, we strongly recommend that you consider the option of travel and re-entry detailed above in order to obtain your new F-1 status. 

Steps to obtain F-1 status through Change of Status application with USCIS 
    • Current ASU students should contact the ASU ISSC at (480) 727-4776 to schedule an appointment to meet with an advisor to request change of status I-20.
    • Pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee.
    • File a Form I-539, “Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status,” with USCIS along with all supporting documents. Not all nonimmigrant classifications may change status through USCIS. Read the instructions carefully to ensure that your category is eligible and consult with our International Student Advisor.
    • Receive Receipt Notice from USCIS.
    • Receive a Form I-797A,"Notice of Action," from USCIS. If USCIS denies your application, be prepared to leave the United States when your current status expires.
    • Submit the copy of Notice of Action and any additional documents you receive from USCIS to the ISSC as soon as possible

 From F-1 Status

F-1 to F-2 Status

Your spouse must submit a request for a dependent I-20 prior to you requesting your change of status. Once you have obtained a dependent I-20 for your spouse, you have two options:

  1. Go to U.S. Consulate abroad and apply for an F-2 visa to travel to the United States.

    • Canadian students do not need to obtain visa. Just cross US border and get a new I-94 reflecting your F-1 status.
    • Return to the United States and submit a copy of your F-2 visa and I-94 to ASU ISSC.

     2.  Apply for Change of Status (COS) through USCIS

You will receive a Receipt Notice and a I-797A, form "Notice of Action," from USCIS.

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

Submit the copy of the Notice of Action and any additional documents you receive from USCIS to the ISSC as soon as possible

F-1 to Other Status

H-1B

If you are an F-1 student interested in changing to H-1B Status for employment purposes, your prospective employer must sponsor you and file that petition. For further information please visit Study in the States for details.

Permanent Residency (PR) or other visa status

To change your status from F-1 to a different status, please consult with USCIS and an immigration attorney (if needed).

Once you have been approved for your new immigration status, please submit proof of your new status to the ISSC. Documents to submit include, but are not limited to:

  • An approval Notice from the USCIS
  • A green card
  • A copy of your new visa and new I-94 reflecting your new status.

From J-1 Status

J-1 to F-1 Status

After completing your program at ASU as J-1 student, if you would like to pursue your different level of education at ASU, you should:

  • Request an I-20 from the ISSC.
  • Leave the country to apply for an F-1 visa from the U.S. Consulate abroad.

Once you receive the I-20, here are your next steps:

  • Return to the United States to begin your studies.

  • Complete mandatory SEVIS New Student Check-in by the first day of class.

J-1 to Other Status

To change your status from F-1 to another status, please consult with the USCIS and an immigration attorney (if needed). If you are subject to a Two-Year Home Residency requirement, please visit J-1 Visa Exchange Visitor Program.