Change of Status to F-1 - With certain exceptions, most non-immigrants are eligible to request a change of status to F-1. Please meet with an OIS advisor to discuss the best option for changing your status. Please note:

  • Change of status processing times may be found at:https://egov.uscis.gov/cris/processTimesDisplay.do;jsessionid=bac585
  • Keep copies of everything you mail to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service
  • J-1 exchange visitors who are subject to the two-year home residence requirement (Section 212[e]) are not eligible for a change of status unless a waiver (form I-612) is granted by USCIS.
  • F-2 dependents may not begin studying until the change of status to F-1 status has been approved.
  • H-4  dependents may not begin working until the change of status is approved.
  • B-1/B-2 visitors may not begin to study until a change of status to F-1 has been granted.
  • H-1B  workers must remain employed and maintain status until the requested begin date of the F-1. (An H-1B maintains status by remaining employed as disclosed on your employer's I-129.)

Two Options to Change your Status

1) Change of status while remaining in the U.S. - This option takes approximately four to six months to process. You must maintain your current status until your change of status is approved. 

Basic Documents Required:

  • Complete Form I-539 Application to Extend/Change Non-immigrant Status (available at www.uscis.gov)
  • Check or money order made payable to "U.S. Department of Homeland Security." Please see form I-539 instructions for the current fee amount (available at www.uscis.gov)
  • Copy of Form I-20 issued by GSU
  • Proof of payment of the SEVIS I-901 fee. See https://www.fmjfee.com for more information on how to pay the fee.
  • Original I-94 card (front and back)
  • Copy of your passport biographical information page
  • Copy of your U.S. visa page
  • Financial documentation: can be one or a combination of the following:
    1. the latest four original monthly bank statements (for local bank accounts)
    2. original bank letters and certifications in English (for banks from abroad)
    3. proof of assistantship and/or tuition waiver, such as a letter from your department
    4. affidavit of support with sponsor's bank letter/statement

Personal letter requesting the change of status.  The letter should explain:

  • Why you did not enter the U.S. in F-1 status
  • Why you are now requesting the change to F-1 status
  • How studying in the U.S. will benefit you, or be better than studying the same subject area in your home country, and the hardship you will experience if the petition is denied
Documents Specific to Your Current Immigration Status
H1-B:
  • Copy of H1-B approval notice
  • Letter from employer stating that the H1-B is currently employed
 
J-1:
  • Copy of DS-2019 (front and back)
  • Copy of (Form I-612) waiver from USCIS
 
H-4:
  • Copy of the H-1B holder's Form I-94 (front and back)
  • Copy of the H-1B holder's approval notice
  • Letter from H1-B's employer stating that H1-B is currently employed
  • Copy of marriage certificate translated into English and notarized for spouse or birth certificate for child
 
J-2:
  • Copy of the J-1 holder's DS-2019 (front and back)
  • Copy of (Form I-612) waiver from USCIS
  • Copy of the J-1 holder's Form I-94 (front and back)
  • Copy of marriage certificate translated into English and notarized for spouse or birth certificate for child
 
F-2:
  • Copy of the F-1 holder's Form I-20 and I-20 issued for dependent use
  • Copy of  the F-1 holder's Form I-94 (front and back)
  • Copy of marriage certificate translated into English and notarized for spouse or birth certificate for child
 

Please follow mailing directions posted on the  USCIS website  to find out where to send your application. Please note that mailing locations may change without notice, so please check this site prior to mailing.

Please note that you will not have the privileges of F-1 student status (working on campus, applying for practical training, etc.) until the change is approved. When USCIS has made a decision, they will send you a Form I-797 Notice of Action. If your application is approved, the I-797 will include a new I-94 card(s) and the I-20 will be returned to you. You must check-in with the Office of International Services once you receive your approval from USCIS. 

2) Change of Status Via Travel - This is a faster option and requires you to apply for an F-1 visa at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy and then entering the U.S. in F-1 status. Click here for a list of Consulates and Embassies. You should review the website of the embassy or consulate you are applying to in order to see what additional documents are necessary, and how far in advance to plan for consular processing.

You must request an initial I-20 for travel from the Office of International Services and pay the SEVIS I-901 fee prior to applying for the visa.  Please visit www.govst.edu/ois or speak to an OIS advisor during open advising hours for more information on how to apply for an F-1 visa.

Change of Status to F-2

A non-immigrant may apply for a change to F-2 status for two reasons: first, if the spouse changes from another non-immigrant classification to F-1, or second, if the non-immigrant becomes the spouse of an F-1 student. With certain exceptions, most non-immigrants are eligible to request a change of status to F-2. Please meet with an OIS advisor to discuss the best option for changing your status. Please note:

  • Change of status processing times may be found at:https://egov.uscis.gov/cris/processTimesDisplay.do;jsessionid=bac585
  • Keep copies of everything you mail to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service.
  • J-1 exchange visitors who are subject to the two-year home residence requirement (Section 212[e]) are not eligible for a change of status unless a waiver (Form I-612) is granted by USCIS.
  • H-1B workers must remain employed and maintain status until the requested begin date of the F-2. (An H-1B maintains status by remaining employed as disclosed on your employer's I-129,)

Two Options to Change your Status

1)  Change of status while remaining in the U.S. - This option takes approximately three to five months to process. For current processing times, please refer to the USCIS website. You must maintain your current status until your change of status is approved.

Basic Documents Required:

  • Complete Form I-539 Application to Extend/Change Non-immigrant Status (available at www.uscis.gov)
  • Check or money order made payable to "U.S. Department of Homeland Security"; please see form I-539 instructions for the current fee amount (available at www.uscis.gov)
  • Copy of Form I-20 issued by GSU
  • Original I-94 card (front and back)
  • Copy of your passport biographical information page
  • Copy of your U.S. visa page
  • Financial documentation: can be one or a combination of the following:
    1. the latest four original monthly bank statements (for local bank accounts)
    2. original bank letters and certifications in English (for banks from abroad)
    3. proof of assistantship and/or tuition waiver, such as a letter from your department
    4. affidavit of support with sponsor's bank letter/statement

Copy of your spouse's immigration documents (I-20 and I-94 card front and back, passport pages, and visa)

Proof of family relationship to the F-1 principal (marriage certificate, translated if necessary)

Documents Specific to Your Current Immigration Status
H1-B:
  • Photocopy of H1-B approval notice
  • Letter from employer stating that the H1-B is currently employed
 
J-1:
  • Photocopy of DS-2019 (front and back)
  • Copy of (Form I-612) waiver from USCIS
 
H-4:
  • Photocopy of the H-1B holder's Form I-94, front and back
  • Photocopy of the H-1B holder's approval notice
  • Letter from H1-B's employer stating that H1-B is currently employed
  • Copy of marriage certificate translated into English and notarize  for spouse or birth certificate for child
 
J-2:
  • Photocopy of the J-1 holder's DS-2019 (front and back)
  • Copy of (Form I-612) waiver from USCIS
  • Photocopy of the J-1 holder's Form I-94, front and back
  • Copy of marriage certificate translated into English and notarized for spouse or birth certificate for child
 
F-1:

Photocopy of the I-20 (front and back)

Please follow mailing directions posted on the USCIS website to find out where to send your application. Please note that mailing locations may change without notice, so please check this site prior to mailing.

Please note that once you are in F-2 status, you do not have authorization to work or participate in a degree-seeking program of study. 

2) Change of Status Via Travel Outside the United States - This is a faster option and requires you to apply for an F-2 visa at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy and then enter the U.S. in F-2 status.  Click here  for a list of Consulates and Embassies.  You must request an initial I-20 for travel from the Office of International Services. Besides the original I-20, you will have to bring your passport, financial documentation, proof of relationship to the F-1 student and copies of the F-1 student's immigration documents. You should review the website of the embassy or consulate you are applying to in order to see what additional documents are necessary, and how far in advance to plan for consular processing.

Change of Status to J-1

Please speak with an OIS advisor if you would like to change your status to J-1 student.