Center for International Education

Change to F1 Status

Can I Change My Status to F-1?

If you are in the US with a different non-immigrant status, you may have to change to F-1 for study. Please check the rules of your current status to see if study is permitted or consult with an immigration attorney. This guide is a good resource to help you check.

If you do need F-1 status, you can choose one of the following two options:

Travel

This is the fastest option and is the traditional way most students enter the U.S. to study with F-1 status. You will apply for an F-1 visa at a U.S. consulate (which are only located outside the U.S.), and enter the U.S. using that F-1 visa. 

Non-Travel (This is called “Change of Status”)

This option should only be considered if you aren't in a hurry to change to F-1 status. With this option, you will file form I-539 with USCIS and wait for them to approve your F-1 status. Approvals can take a very long time and you should check current processing times here. With this method, you will not receive the visa stamp in your passport.

How do I start the process?

  • Email our CIE advisors at uwbintl@uw.edu
  • After you've spoken to an advisor, we will give you access to https://cie.uwb.edu
  • There, you will make a the request, uploading the necessary information and documents

What documents do I need?

  • A clear image of your passport biographical page (the entire page).
  • A clear image of the visa you used to enter the US (the entire page).
  • Your current I-94 record. If you have an I-797A from a previous change of status, you can use that instead.
  • Financial documents required for all F-1 applicants. More information can be found here.
  • Clear images of the passport biographical pages for any dependents you might have. 

Still have questions?

Contact the Center for International Education at uwbintl@uw.edu to discuss your situation and get your questions answered!

Additional Resources