Filing a Change of Status

Eligibility

An alien in most nonimmigrant statuses except C, D, K, or M (and in certain cases J and B), and except an alien who has entered the United States under the terms of the Visa-Waiver Program, can apply for a change to/from F-1 status if he or she has maintained lawful nonimmigrant status up to the time the application is filed. 

In addition - to best advise you, you must notify us of any other changes of status you currently have pending or planned for yourself in the near future, including any application for permanent residency (greencard). Failing to notify us of these situations can lead to immigration status problems and serious complications with your case(s).

If at any time in this process you have questions, please visit with your international student advisor. Note that this page refers to documents needed to do a change of status from within the United States. Sometimes it is more appropriate to travel back to your home country to receive a new visa stamp for the new status. Your international student advisor can discuss those options with you. Remember that when you file for a change of status from within the United States, you will not receive a visa stamp in your passport, and that once you have filed you cannot leave the United States while the application is pending as that would be considered abandonment of the change of status petition.

Reminders When Filing a Change of Status
  • Look below for the change of visa status instructions that apply to your situation.
  • All applicants below must fill out the I-539 form. Any USCIS forms listed here can be found on the USCIS website at www.uscis.gov/forms. Please note: Do not "e-file" the I-539. You must submit it on paper through your international student advisor with your entire application. 
  • Turn in the requested documents to the NDSU Office of International Student and Study Abroad Services (ISSAS). Please contact ISSAS if you have questions about your change of status plans.
  • Our office will review the documents and will prepare them and will notify you when they are ready for you to pick them up. Then, mail the entire application to USCIS, to the address as listed in the "Where to File?" section of the instructions for the I-539 form.

Also note that a change of status by travel may also be an option in your situation - please contact your international student advisor with any questions regarding the advantages and disadvantages of the method you use to change your visa status.

ALL STUDENTS: DOCUMENTS NEEDED

  1. USCIS Form I-539
    • $370 application fee: Check or money order written out to "U.S. Department of Homeland Security"
    • $85 biometrics fee
      • Check or money order must be written out to "U.S. Department of Homeland Security."
      • Both of these fees can be paid together in one check.
      • If you have dependents included in your application a separate biometrics fee must be paid for each additional person.
    • You can verify the fee amounts in the "Filing Fee" section of the I-539 page on the USCIS website linked to above, in #1.
    • ***IMPORTANT: The I-539 fee is increasing to one fee of $400 (including biometrics cost) for applications postmarked October 2, 2020 or later. Please see https://uscis.gov for current information before filing your application as information can quickly change***
  2. USCIS Form G-1145 for electronic (email/text) notification of receipt of application by USCIS
  3. Change of Status Agreement (given to you by your International Student Advisor)
  4. Statement from you, explaining your reason for a change of status
  5. Bank statement and financial documents
    • If your financial sponsor is located in the U.S., and is someone other than your own husband/wife, it is recommended you provide a signed letter of support from your sponsor.
    • For calculating finances needed:Undergraduate expenses or Graduate expenses

Other Guidance on the I-539 Form

Please click here to read through guidance regarding the recent changes to the I-539 form from NAFSA: Association of International Educators. This addresses changes to the form in addition to biometric fees and information regarding dependents.

Change of Status to F-1

When to File for F-1 Status

Note: For any changes to F-1, it is recommended to turn in your application 6+ months prior to when you wish to begin studies as an F-1 student. Changes of status can take up to approximately 15 months in some cases. Please check the USCIS.gov website for current estimated processing times.

F-2 to F-1
  1. NDSU admission letter
  2. Submit a copy of your spouse's (or parent's) I-20, visa, I-94 record, and passport biography/photo page
  3. Submit a copy of your F-2 I-20, visa, I-94 record, and passport biography/photo page, and a copy of your marriage certificate (or birth certificate if you are a dependent child of the F-1) (with English translation if necessary)
  4. Your new SEVIS I-20 (For 'Change of Status Requested') 
    • This is issued by an international student advisor after your entire application is complete.
  5. Copy of I-901 SEVIS Fee Payment Receipt  
    • Pay this online at http://www.fmjfee.com after your new SEVIS I-20 has been issued by your international student advisor.

 

H-1 to F-1
  1. NDSU admission letter
  2. Copy of your H-1 approval notice, visa, I-94, passport (biography and photo page)
  3. Letter from most recent employer explaining your last day of employment or expected last day of employment.
  4. Please also include your last pay stub/statement.  
    • Important: It is best for your immigration status if the change of status to F-1 can be filed while you still employed. The service center must receive your change of status application no later than 10 days after your H-1 employment has ended.  Please plan accordingly. 
  5. SEVIS I-20 (For 'Change of Status Requested')
    • This is issued by an international student advisor after your entire application is complete.
  6. Copy of I-901 SEVIS Fee Payment Receipt  
    • Pay this online at www.fmjfee.com after your new SEVIS I-20 has been issued by your international student advisor.
H-4 to F-1
  1. NDSU admission letter
  2. Submit a copy of your spouse's H-1 approval notice, visa, I-94 and passport biography/photo page
  3. Submit a copy of your H-4 approval notice, visa, I-94 and passport biography/photo page and a copy of your marriage certificate (or a birth certificate if you are a dependent child of the H-1B) (with English translation if necessary)
  4. Your new SEVIS I-20 (For 'Change of Status Requested')
    • This is issued by an international student advisor after your entire application is complete.
  5. Copy of I-901 SEVIS Fee Payment Receipt  
    • Pay this online at www.fmjfee.com after your new SEVIS I-20 has been issued by your international student advisor.

 

J-1 to F-1

Please note: If you are a J-1 (or J-2) who wishes to change your status to F-1, you must first visit with your international student advisor about your status and current J visa. Usually you will be required to travel home to get an F-1 visa stamp and not complete a change of status in the U.S. using the application process below. Visit with your international student advisor with any questions before beginning this process.

  1. NDSU admission letter
  2. Copy of your DS-2019, visa, I-94 record and passport (biography/photo page)
  3. New SEVIS I-20
    • This is issued by an international student advisor after your entire application is complete.
  4. Copy of I-901 SEVIS Fee Payment Receipt: Pay this online at www.fmjfee.com after your new SEVIS I-20 has been issued by your international student advisor.
J-2 to F-1

Please note: If you are a J-1 (or J-2) who wishes to change your status to F-1, you must first visit with your international student advisor about your status and current J visa. Usually you will be required to travel home to get an F-1 visa stamp and not complete a change of status in the U.S. using the application process below. Visit with your international student advisor with any questions before beginning this process.

  1. NDSU admission letter
  2. Copy of your spouse's DS-2019, visa, I-94 record, and passport (biography and photo page)
  3. Copy of your DS-2019, visa, I-94 record and passport (biography and photo page), and a copy of your marriage certificate (or birth certificate if you are a dependent child of the J-1) (with English translation if necessary)
  4. New SEVIS I-20 (For 'Change of Status Requested') 
    • This is issued by an international student advisor after your entire application is complete.
  5. Copy of I-901 SEVIS Fee Payment Receipt  
    • Pay this online at www.fmjfee.com after your new SEVIS I-20 has been issued by your international student advisor.

 

Change of Status to F-2

F-1 to F-2
  1. Copy of your spouse's I-20, visa, I-94 record and passport (biography and photo page)
  2. Copy of your F-1 I-20, visa, I-94 record and passport (biography and photo page), and a copy of your marriage certificate (with English translation if necessary)
  3. New SEVIS Dependent I-20
    • This is issued by an international student advisor after your entire application is complete.
  4. The principal F-1 spouse, will also receive a new, updated I-20 showing the updated finances and the new number of dependents.

 

Change of Status to J-1

F-1 to J-1
  1. NDSU admission letter
  2. Copy of your I-20, visa, I-94 record and passport (biography and photo page)
  3. If you have family members who will be changing status with you, also include copies of your family members' I-20, visa, I-94 record, and passport (biography and photo page) and a copy of your marriage certificate (with English translation if necessary)
  4. New SEVIS DS-2019 (For 'Change of Status Requested') 
    • This is issued by an international student advisor after your entire application is complete.
  5. Copy of I-901 SEVIS Fee Payment Receipt  
    • Pay this online at www.fmjfee.com after your new SEVIS DS-2019 has been issued by your international student advisor.
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