Change to F1 Status

Can I Change My Status to F-1?

not everyone needs to change to F-1 status to study in the US. Please check the rules of your current status to see if study is permitted. This guide is a good resource to help you check. We also recommend consulting with an immigration attorney.

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


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?

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.
  • Clear images of the passport biographical pages for any dependents you might have.

Still have questions?

Contact the International Student Services at to discuss your situation and get your questions answered!

Additional Resources