University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota
http://www.umn.edu/
612-625-5000

F – 1 Students


Change of Visa Status

Application to DHS for F-1 Status | Application to DHS for F-2 Status | Effecting Change of Visa Through Reentry into the U.S.

Change of Visa Status

Due to the complexity of eligibility requirements, legal status issues and personal situations, ISSS strongly advises that individuals discuss their plans for change in status with an ISSS adviser.

There is no guarantee that DHS will approve an application for a change in status request.

A change in status may be effected in one of two ways:

  • An application for Change in Status submitted to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Processing time varies; it could take DHS 2 to 9 months to process the application.
  • Reentry into the U.S. with the new visa type. The individual would be required to have a valid entry visa stamp and a visa document appropriate to the visa type s/he intends to establish with reentry.
Caution: Effecting a change of visa through reentry from Canada or Mexico may not be an option. Consult with an ISSS adviser.

Application to DHS for F-1 Status

  • Applicant must be in legal status to apply for a change in status.
  • Applicant must have been in current visa status for at least three months before submitting an application to DHS, or proof of no preconceived intent to study at the time of entry.
  • Individual holding a tourist waiver status is not eligible to apply for a change in status.
  • Applicant is not eligible for on or off campus employment (including assistantship) until the F-1 status has been approved by DHS.
  • Students offered an assistantship can ask an ISSS adviser to request an “Expedite” on their application.
  • Denial of application may have serious legal consequences. Consult with an ISSS adviser.
  • Applicant is not required to maintain full-time studies until the F-1 status has been approved.
  • B1/B2 visa holders cannot enroll for classes until the F-1 status has been approved. Discuss the timing of a change in status application with an ISSS adviser.
  • F-2 visa holders cannot enroll for full-time classes until the F-1 status has been approved.

Please Note:
All persons applying for a change of status to F-1 must pay a $200 SEVIS fee before submitting their applications.  For more information, go to the SEVIS Fee web page. Note that this $200 fee is in addition to the change of status application fee payable to USCIS.

F-2 to F-1 - Submit to DHS:

  • Form I-539
  • Photocopy of Form I-20 (all pages – sign and date before submitting)
  • Photocopy of both sides of Form I-94 or printout
  • Photocopy of dependents’ Form I-94 (both sides) if applicable or printout
  • Documentary evidence of funding (personal bank statement, assistantship offer letter, etc.
  • Appropriate fee payable to USCIS
  • Include a letter explaining why you need a Change of Status
  • Copy of SEVIS Fee Receipt

H-1B to F-1 - Submit to DHS:

  • Form I-539
  • Photocopy of Form I-20 (all pages – sign and date before submitting)
  • Photocopy of both sides of Form I-94 or printout
  • Photocopy of I-797 – Approval Notice
  • Documentary evidence of funding
  • Appropriate fee payable to USCIS

J-1 to F-1 - Submit to DHS

  • Form I-539
  • Photocopy of Form I-20 (all pages – sign and date before submitting)
  • Photocopy of Form I-94 or printout
  • Photocopy of Form I-94(s) or printout for dependent(s), if applicable
  • Documentary evidence of funding
  • Appropriate fee payable to USCIS
  • Waiver of foreign residence requirement, if applicable
  • Photocopies of all previous DS-2019 forms

Application to DHS for F-2 Status

  • Applicant’s F-1 spouse must request an I-20 for applicant´s change of status, listing the applicant as a dependent.
  • Individual holding a tourist waiver status is not eligible to apply for a change in status.

Submit to DHS:

  • Form I-539
  • Photocopy of Form I-20 (all pages – F-1 Spouse must sign and date before submitting)
  • Photocopy of both sides of Form I-94 or printout
  • Photocopy of spouse’s Form I-94 or printout
  • Photocopy of spouse’s I-20
  • Photocopy of marriage certificate
  • Photocopy of Form I-797 – Approval Notice (if applying for H-1B to F-2 status)
  • Documentary evidence of funding
  • Appropriate fee payable to USCIS


GPS