Change of Status to F-1
If you intend to pursue full-time studies in the U.S. and you are currently in another nonimmigrant status, you will need to change to an F-1 student status.
Students accepted to WesternU who are in B1/B2 or F-2 status must have an approved change of status to F-1 before matriculation to WesternU. Please contact the DSO immediately after your acceptance to discuss your plans for change of status.
There are two options to file a change of status:
- File a change of status application to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) without departing the U.S. This process can take up to 4 months to receive your change of status.
- Leave the U.S. and apply for a new visa at a U.S. consulate, and re-enter the U.S. This process is quicker than changing your status in the U.S. However, you may encounter visa processing delays.
Change of Status to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Change of Status applicants must have a valid immigration status at the time of submitting their application to the U.S. Citizenship an Immigration Services (USCIS).
The following documents are required for a change of status application:
- A letter from you requesting the change of status and explaining your circumstances, including information about why you are applying for an F-1, it is also advisable that you demonstrate strong ties to your home country and/or that you do not have intentions to immigrate to the US.
- Completed Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. Complete both sides of the form, complete question Part 4, item 3, on a separate page if necessary. List any dependent family members changing their dependent status (to F-2) in Supplement 1 on From I-539. You can locate this form on USCIS web site: https://www.uscis.gov/forms and select Immigration Forms from the top menu.
- Copy of your SEVIS I-20 (for F-1) prepared by WesternU indicating “Change of Status” in the first box of your I-20. Remember to sign and date your form.
- Proof of SEVIS fee payment for $350.00 (if applicable). This fee can be paid on-line by completing Form I-901 at https://www.ice.gov/sevis/i901/index.htm after the I-20 is issued to you. If you pay on-line you can print a receipt immediately.
- $370 check or money order payable to Department of Homeland Security (DHS). This one fee covers you and any F-2 dependents that you have listed on Supplement 1 of the I-539 form.
- Photocopies of both sides of your current immigration documents which may include I-20 forms, passport information page, visa stamp page and I-94 card.
- If current status is F-2 or H-4, provide proof of primary F-1 or H-1B status. Photocopy F-1 or H-1B visa in passport and photocopy F-1 or H-1B I-94 front and back of card.
- Copies of financial documents used to obtain your I-20.
- Photocopy of your passport identification page and visa stamp (Canadian and Bermudan citizens do not have a visa stamp) – do not send your passport.
- Be sure to keep a photocopy of all your documents.
For the correct mailing Lockbox, please check the website at https://www.uscis.gov/i-539-addresses.
Do not leave the U.S. while your application is pending. Leaving the U.S. will cancel your application.
Travel Abroad and Re-Enter the U.S.
This process automatically changes the status to F-1 upon re-entry into the U.S. Processing times may varies depending upon embassy/consulate.
- Depart the U.S. with a SEVIS I-20 (for F-1) prepared by WesternU indicating “Initial Attendance” in the first box of your I-20.
- Proof of SEVIS fee payment for $350.00. This fee can be paid on-line by completing Form I-901 at https://www.ice.gov/sevis/i901/index.htm after the I-20 is issued to you. If you pay on-line you can print a receipt immediately.
- Apply for F-1 visa at a U.S. Embassy/Consulate (Canadian citizens are not required to apply for a visa.) You will be required to show proof of funding.