Change of Status from B-1/B-2 to F-1

Eligibility

You must apply for Change of Status (COS) 30 days prior to your B-1/B-2 visa expires and maintain your B-1/B-2 visa status all the time until your F1 status is approved. You might need to apply for a Bridge Application if your B-1/B-2 status is going to expire when your COS is pending with adjudication.

You may be able to change status if:

  • You are maintaining your current status.
  • You are eligible for the new status.
  • Your current status does not prohibit change of status in the U.S. See USCIS for restrictions.

You generally cannot change status (in current TCSPP environment) if:

  • Your period of authorized stay has already expired.
  • You have otherwise violated the conditions of your current status.

Options and Requirement

1) Travel and Re-entry

You may change your status by obtain an I-20 from your DSO and travel back to your home country, apply for F1 visa with U.S. embassy or a Consulate Office and re-enter U.S. with your I-20 and F-1 visa no earlier than 30 days before the Program Start Date on your I-20.

Advantages:

  • This process is usually faster than changing status in the U.S.
  •  You will have the approved F1 visa on your passport.

Disadvantages:

  • Possibility of visa processing delay or denial
  • Expenses of travel

2) Change of Status (COS) in the U.S.

You are required to make an appointment with your DSO to start the process. You cannot attend school until your F1 status is approved and you are required to start immediately for the next available semester.

  • Filing Fee to USCIS
  • G-1145 to allow USCIS to text you about application and review update or request for evidence (RFE) 
  • A cover letter (one page) requesting the change of status from B1/B2 to F-1. This letter should include a brief explanation as why you wish to change to F-1 status. You should also provide a checklist of the documentation you are including in your application.
  • USCIS Form I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status
  • Evidence of financial support (i.e., bank statement, assistantship letter, etc.).
  • Copy of the admission letter from TCSPP – the date of admission is very critical. If you applied for your B1/B2 visa after you have been admitted to TCSPP, it might be considered by DOS as a violation of the initial intent of a B1/B2 visa.
  • Copy of your entire F-1 I-20 (sign in “Student Attestation" section on page 1 of the form before making a copy). Do NOT send your original I-20. USCIS does not require the original and will not return it.
  • Copy of the receipt indicating payment of the SEVIS fee. Please note that the SEVIS fee is separate from the application fee; both fees must be paid if you are applying for the change of status within the U.S.
  • Copy of valid B1/B2 visa
  • Copy of Form I-94 from the most recent entry to the United States.
  • Copy of Passport Bio Page

Advantages:

  • Ability to stay in the U.S. during processing
  • Avoid the hassle of a visa application process.

Disadvantages:

  • Processing can be very slow, 3-6 months, which may jeopardize your ability to begin planned study.
  • You might have to apply for Bridge Application to extend your current B1/B2 visa if it is expiring during the process.
  • You must stay in the U.S. during the process. Departing from U.S. cancels the application.
  • You must still obtain a visa stamp on your passport to match your new status the next time you travel outside the U.S.
  • The application may be denied, which could require you to quickly depart the U.S.

Approval or denial: USCIS will notify you of their decision with Form I-797 Notice of Action. The I-797 is an important document and should be kept with your passport and I-94 card. The denial letter or approval notice will be mailed to the address listed on Form I-539 in your application. Note that if you change your address, the postal service will not forward mail sent to you by USCIS. Please provide your ISS adviser with a copy of your I-797/Notice of Action and approval notice.

Remaining in the U.S. during processing: You may remain in the U.S. while your application is pending, but must maintain a valid B1/B2 status or file an extension.

Travel outside the U.S. while application is pending: Do not travel outside of the U.S. while your change of status case is pending. If you leave the country, USCIS will consider your application abandoned.

Travel outside the U.S. after application is approved:  In order to re-enter the U.S. after a trip abroad (except for brief trips to Canada or Mexico under 30 days), you must visit a U.S. consulate to request a new visa  to match your new status. Please make sure that your I-20 is in Continuous status and signed for travel by your DSO.

Employment eligibility:  No Employment is permitted until your F-1 Status is approved and your Practicum/Internship, if applicable, is authorized by your DSO.


Change of Status from H4 to F1

Employment Authorization for Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses became available on May 26, 2015. Consult the immigration specialist of your spouse's employer to see if you should obtain F1 status or if you are eligible for work authorization in your current H4 status. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) provides additional FA​​Q sabout the new benefit.

Eligibility

You may be able to change status if:

  • You are maintaining your current status.
  • You are eligible for the new status.
  • Your current status does not prohibit change of status in the U.S. See USCIS​​ for restrictions.

You generally cannot change status (in current TCSPP environment) if:

  • Your period of authorized stay has already expired.
  • You have otherwise violated the conditions of your current status.

Options and Requirement

1) Travel and Re-entry

You may change your status by obtain an I-20 from your DSO and travel back to your home country, apply for F1 visa with U.S. embassy or a Consulate Office and re-enter U.S. with your I-20 and F-1 visa no earlier than 30 days before the Program Start Date on your I-20.

Advantages:

  • ​This process is usually faster than changing status in the U.S.
  •  You will have the approved F1 visa on your passport.

Disadvantages:

  • Possibility of visa processing delay or denial
  • Expenses of travel

​2) Change of Status (COS) in the U.S.

You are required to make an appointment with your DSO to start the process. If you are studying in a program that requires Practicum/Internship which will be authorized as Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and you are not qualified for the Employment Authorization for Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses mentioned above, please prepare the following and mail the package to USCIS (no electronic submission available).

  • Form I​-539
  • Application  Fee: check or money order payable to "U.S. Department of Homeland Security"  Check the form instruction for updated fee amount.
  • Original I-94 card or photocopy of admission stamp and paper printout of I-94 Admission Number
  • Photocopy of the visa page and identification page in your passport
  • Photocopy of the signed I-20 issued in your name by you DSO at TCSPP
  • Financial documents verifying funds for tuition/living expenses with the inform​​a​tion​ on our website
  • Photocopy of the H-1's Approval Notice (I-797)​
  • Photocopy of the H-1's I-94 card (front and back) or print out from I-94 Admission Number
  • A letter from the H-1 employer verifying that the H-1 is in status
  • Detailed letter requesting and explaining the need to change status – Your DSO can help review the letter
  • Photocopy of proof of payment of SEVIS f​ee

Advantages:

  • Ability to stay in the U.S. during processing
  • Avoid the hassle of a visa application process.

Disadvantages:

  • Processing can be very slow, 3-6 months, which may jeopardize your ability to begin your new activity, like accepting an offer for your Practicum/Internship, teaching assistant or other on-campus employment.
  • You must stay in the U.S. during the process. Departing from U.S. cancels the application.
  • You must still obtain a visa stamp on your passport to match your new status the next time you travel outside the U.S., except for a trip under 30 days to Canada or Mexico.
  • The application may be denied, which could require you to quickly depart the U.S. and delay your Practicum/Internship hence the length of your program of study.​

Approval or denial: USCIS will notify you of their decision with Form I-797 Notice of Action. The I-797 is an important document and should be kept with your passport and I-94 card. The denial letter or approval notice will be mailed to the address listed on Form I-539 in your application. Note that if you change your address, the postal service will not forward mail sent to you by USCIS. Please provide your ISS adviser with a copy of your I-797/Notice of Action and approval notice.

Remaining in the U.S. during processing:You may remain in the U.S. while your application is pending, even if your original status expires during the application processing.

Travel outside the U.S. while application is pending:Do not travel outside of the U.S. while your change of status case is pending. If you leave the country, USCIS will consider your application abandoned.

Travel outside the U.S. after application is approved: ​​​In order to re-enter the U.S. after a trip abroad (except for brief trips to Canada or Mexico under 30 days), you must visit a U.S. con​​sulate to request a new visa​ to match your new status. Please make sure that your I-20 is in Continuous status and signed for travel by your DSO.

Employment eligibility: Do not begin employment, if permitted under the new status, until the change of status is approved. Please contact your Office of Practical Training (OPT) Advisor, Academic Advisor and DSO if the process is delayed before your Practicum/Internship starts.


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