Change of Status: B-2 (visitor) to F-1 (student)

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   B-2 visitor or B-2 prospective student is required to change his/her status to study full-time in the US. Full-time study to earn a degree is prohibited by immigration authorities before COS approval. B-2 students must apply for change of status before the date stamped on their I-94 cards.

* Abide by the Change of Status Outline if you plan to stay in the US during the semester you are applying for.

* These guidelines do not apply if you intend to return to your home country and go through the embassy process before the start of your school.

Change in status is not a change of visa!

You can only obtain a visa from the American embassy or consulate in your home country. If the USCIS approves your application, it is possible to stay in the US provided you follow F-1 rules. If you leave the country, it is necessary to secure an F-1 visa from the embassy in your country to re-enter the United States.

ELIGIBILITY FOR FILING CHANGE OF STATUS

USCIS officers determine eligibility for change of status. This is different whether or not a person qualifies for issuance of an I-20 and F-1 status. A prospective student becomes eligible for issuance of an I-20. However, the change of status application will NOT BE APPROVED if he or she is not eligible. B2 visitor visa-holders are given a fixed duration of stay (three to six months). This is marked on their I-94 cards.

* I-94 card will be stamped B-2 until 05/25/2015.

* File applications before the stamped date. This cannot be beyond the date of arrival at the service center.

* This cannot be longer than the 30-day gap between categories.

(For example, if Chris arrived on 5/01/2015 at COS to file for F1, he will be ineligible since the next semester is longer than the 30 day period is more than his B-2 stay allowance.)

* COS for B2 to F1 is difficult. There is generally a high incidence of denial.

IF YOU DO NOT MEET THESE ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA, YOU WILL BE REQUIRED TO RETURN TO YOUR HOME COUNTRY AND APPLY FOR YOUR F-1 THROUGH THE US EMBASSY or CONSULATE.

PROCESS

To change from non-immigrant visa to F-1 student status, you must be accepted to the college for a full-course of study. Once you have been accepted, ask for an appointment with the International Students Counselor.

Bring the following items:

(1) Pay SEVIS I-901 Fee: Effective September 1, 2004, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requires the collection of a one-time fee of $200 from new F-1 students. The fee covers operational costs of the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). This is a central computerized system that maintains and manages data related to international students (F-1 status), exchange visitors (J-1 status), and their dependents (F-2 and J-2) during their stay in the United States.

The SEVIS fee must be paid and processed before filing the I-539 Change of Status Application. A copy of the payment receipt must be submitted with the application.

The fee can be paid by mail (Form I-901) together with a check or money order drawn from a US bank and payable in US dollars. The fee can also be paid electronically by completing Form I-901 through the internet. Use a Visa, MasterCard, or American Express credit card. For more detailed information check out http://www.ice.gov/graphics/sevis/i901/faq.htm.

(2) Fee of $290: The check or money order must be payable to the Department of Homeland Security. Write your admission number (number on your I-94 and I-20), name (if not printed on your check), and type of application you are requesting in front of the check or money order.

(3) A letter requesting the change of status and explaining why you did not enter the US on an F-1 visa.

(4) Completed Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. The International Student Counselor can help with items that you do not understand.

(5) Your Form I-20 (pages 1-3 must be signed on line 11.

(6) Financial documentation- bank statement and affidavit of support (Form I-134) if the money is submitted by another person.

(7) Bring your passport, current non-immigrant Visa and I-94 card. Copies will be made and sent with the application.

Marian Moore – Social Media Manager

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