Change to F1/J1 Status

If you are in another status and wish to change your status to F-1 to start your program, there are two ways to change your visa status unless you hold a B1/B2 visa. If you are a B1/B2 visa holder, you will have to travel outside the US for the change of status.

  1. Travel out of the US
    • You will receive the new I-20, depart the US and attend a visa interview in your home country to receive your new status. ISSS highly recommends this option due to the long process of adjudication for the change of status from within the US. NOTE: ISSS does not recommend traveling to Canada to do this if you are not a Canadian.
  2. Apply from within the US
    • You will send an application to US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) and the service center will adjudicate your application. Once your application is approved, you can remain in the US on the approval notice. As soon as you travel, you will need to go to a visa interview to receive the visa to enter the US on the new status.

      You cannot apply for the change of status from within the US if one of the following is true:
      • You are (or were) a J visa holder who is subject to the two year home residence requirement or
      • Your last entry into the US was through the visa waiver program (ESTA)
    • A change of status can take over 7 months for adjudication; therefore, we do highly recommend that you do not apply for the change in the semester before your final semester.
ISSS strongly recommends that students travel to apply for the change of status as USCIS has taken longer than usual to adjudicate cases and there is no Visexpedite process for a change of status.


Contact Us

International Student Scholar Services (ISSS)
Williston Hall

Phone: 815-753-1346

Staff Office Hours

8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Walk-in Appointments

No scheduled appointment needed in these hours

10 a.m.-noon and 1-3 p.m.