This option requires the submission of a Change of Status (COS) application to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and the applicant may remain in the U.S. while the application is pending. The applicant needs to review the "Change of Status to F-1 Checklist" link below.
We advise the applicant to make copies of all documents submitted before mailing the application to USCIS. And we recommend using USPS Certified Mail or Delivery Confirmation to mail the complete application packet to USCIS. These mail options provide a tracking number which is important for tracking when the application arrives at USCIS.
The Change of Status application process is quite lengthy once the application reaches USCIS. In recent years, USCIS processing time has been an average of 19 months; this average may vary. You may visit USCIS Processing Times for current averages; select “Form I-539,” “Change of Status to F or M Student of J Visitor,” and either “Texas Service Center” (apply by mail) or “Potomac Service Center” (apply online). Therefore, we advise to apply early and allow sufficient time before the applicant is due to commence studies. In approximately 2 to 3 weeks from the application arrival at USCIS, the applicant can expect to receive a "Notice of Action" document that confirms receipt of the case and provides the case number. The applicant can use the case number to track the progress of the application on the USCIS site.
Once the Change of Status has been APPROVED, the applicant must bring the Approval Notice with attached I-94 to UFIC within 15 days of receipt.
Application fee of $370.00 and a biometrics fee of $85.00 made payable to the Department of Homeland Security, in the form of a check or money order. You must include two checks/money orders for these individual amounts.
*** USCIS application fee amounts and edition dates of the application forms change periodically. We urge you to look at the USCIS page for the I-539 application on the day you will mail the application to ensure you are paying the correct fee amount, using the correct edition date of the I-539, and mailing the application to the correct USCIS Service Center based on the information published on the USCIS site at the time you mail your application. ***
Forms (for Change of Status applications INSIDE the US)
- I-539 Application To Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status
- Student Form – Needed to process I-20
- Financial Support Guidelines – To assist in calculating the amount needed for proof of funds
- I-94 Record – If needed as part of the application packet
- SEVIS fee payment – Payment can be made after the I-20 is issued
- International Student Responsibility – Form will be collected once the change of status is approved
Additional Resources (for Change of Status applications INSIDE the US)
- Case Status Online – To check status of application on USCIS site
- USCIS Processing Times – To check the current processing times for applications pending at USCIS
- USCIS Change of Address – To update the mailing address with USCIS in the event the applicant moves
- Official USPS Change of Address – To update the mailing address with the U.S. post service in the event the applicant moves