An individual in lawful immigration status already in the U.S. may apply to U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) for a change of status from a current to desired change of status. The Change of Status application (Form I-539) is processed by USCIS and may take several months to be approved. Note: Recently premium processing (expedited processing) has become available for an additional fee of $1750. More details here.
Eligibility & Considerations
You must be maintaining your current status when you apply.
J-1 students who are subject to and have not fulfilled the two-year home residency requirement, will need to travel to change status.
Individuals in F-2 status are permitted part-time study. If you intend to study full-time, you will want to change your status from F-2 to F-1, and may not study or enroll full-time until you are in valid F-1 status.
Individuals in B-1/B-2 status are prohibited from enrolling in a program of study until the change of status is approved.
- A change of status application with UCSIS may take several months to approve. For more: USCIS Processing Timelines
- Obtain form I-20 (for F-1 status) or DS-2019 (for J-1 status) from OIA. To do so you must follow all instructions provided on the admitted student section of our website.
- Obtain, complete and sign a Form I-539. Follow the instructions that come with the form carefully.
Enclose with your I-539 and I-20 or DS-2019, all relevant documents per the I-539 instructions.
- I-539A is part of the I-539 and should be used if you are applying for more than one person using your I-539 application. Use a separate I-539A for each additional applicant. For more information, read through the I-539A instructions (linked here under "Forms and Document Downloads")
- Mail documents to USCIS per the I-539 instructions (filing address dependent upon U.S. address used on I-539) or file the I-539 online.
While Application is Pending
- International travel while your application for a change of status is pending with USCIS may result in rejection. Given processing timelines, please plan accordingly.
- You are not eligible for employment (on-campus or off-campus) or other F-1 or J-1 benefits until your change of status has been approved.
- For additional information on changing your non-immigrant status, please see https://www.uscis.gov/i-539