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 must make an appointment to see an International Student Advisor (ISA) in order to assemble an application packet. The applicant needs to review the "Change of Status to F-1 Checklist" link below and bring all the materials indicated in the list.
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 months, we have experienced wait times of 8 to 10 months so it is advised 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.
** USCIS announced fee increases which will become effective for petitions/applications postmarked on or after October 2, 2020. Any application, petition, or request postmarked on or after this date must be accompanied with the fees established by this final rule. The USCIS fee for Form I-539 for Change of Status or Reinstatement will change from $370 to $400.
Update: On September 29, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California issued a nationwide preliminary injunction and stay on implementation of the 2020 final USCIS fee rule in its entirety. New fees and form versions associated with that rule that were to be required on October 2, 2020, as well as all other aspects of the rule, are now on hold. Read the court's order. For more information, click here.
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