Changing F-1 Status
Your Current Visa’s Eligibility:
Before you go through the long process of changing your nonimmigrant status to F-1 from within the United States, make sure that your current nonimmigrant status allows you to do so. Find out is your current visa is eligible.
Now, you need to find out if YOU are eligible to change your status. If you can answer ‘yes’ to all of the following questions, you can begin the change of status process.
- Are you in the United States in a valid nonimmigrant status and eligible to change to F-1 or M-1 status?
- Will you be filing for your change of status and requesting the status be changed before you current nonimmigrant status expires?
- Have you been accepted to an SEVP-certified school, received a Form I-20, and paid the SEVIS I-901 fee?
- Will you remain in the U.S. while you change of status is pending (if you leave the U.S. while a change of status is pending, your petition will automatically be denied)?
Change Your Status by Travel:
You will need to leave the United States and re-enter on an F-1 visa before your academic program begins at Butler University. We recommend that you apply for the F-1 visa in your home country.
To learn how to apply for an F-1 visa outside the United States, visit Applying for Your Visa.
Change Your Status within the United States:
Visit the USCIS website for the most current forms and information.
What you need:
- Completed form I-539 (instructions)
- Complete form G-1145 (recommended)
- Letter explaining why you want to change your status
- Acceptance letter from Butler
- Filing fee (find the current fee here)
- Original form I-20 from Butler University, signed by you and the DSO at the bottom of the first page
- Proof of SEVIS payment
- Copies of financial support documents:
- If funding is in student’s own name from a bank in U.S., bank statements of four months with each month carrying a balance of sufficient funding for the complete cost on I-20.
- If the financial documents are in the name of a sponsor, the sponsor must complete an Affidavit of Support form obtainable on the website of the Admissions Office or the Office of International Student & Scholar Services.
- Other financial documents can be documentation of scholarship/assistantship awards, approved loans, or official letter in English from financial institutions outside the U.S. supported by evidence of sufficient funding.
- Photocopy of your passport identification page
- Photocopy of your current visa page in your passport (if applicable)
- Photocopy of the front and back of you current I-94 card
- Dependents (H4, F2, L2, G4, etc) should provide evidence that the principle visa holder is maintaining his/her status (his/her visa, passport, other USCIS documents if any, and employment verification if H1 or L1)
- Working visa holders currently authorized to work in the U.S should provide a letter certifying your employment and two current pay stubs
- If you are in A or G status, you must complete the Form I-566 and obtain all required signatures.
- B1/B2 visa holders should provide evidence of business/tourist activities in the U.S.
To check for an updated I-539 filing address visit USCIS website.
Be prepared to depart the United States immediately if the change of status application is denied.
If you currently have an F-2, M-2, B-1, and B-2, you may not begin taking classes until the change of status is approved. You are also ineligible for F-1 benefits until your change of status is approved (i.e. on-campus employment, practical training, etc).
It can take up to 6 months for your change of status to be approved. IF it takes longer than 6 months, contact the Office of International Student Services.
You will receive form I-797 from USCIS when your change of status is approved. This will have your new I-94 card. Bring your form I-797 to the OISS immediately.
If you leave the U.S. after your change of status has been approved, you will need to renew your F-1 visa before you can return to the U.S. Refer to Maintaining Your Status to learn how to renew your F-1 visa.