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Change of Status

Some students may be able to apply from their current visa status to a F-1 student status while in the U.S.

There are two ways student can obtain a new nonimmigrant status

  1. Students can leave the U.S., apply for a new visa at a U.S. consulate, and reenter the U.S. or
  2. Students can remain in the U.S. and apply for a change your status through the U. S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS).

Advantages and Disadvantages of Leaving the U.S. to obtain F-1 visa status

  • Advantage – Obtain the F-1 visa status is faster.   
  • Disadvantage  - There is the  possibility of visa processing delay at the embassy / consulant office as well as the expense of travel.

Advantages and Disadvantages of applying through USCIS:

  • Advantage - Depending on your current visa status you may be able to continuing taking some courses.
  • Disadvantage
    • Some visa status does not allow you take any course in your degree program while the application is pending with USCIS.
    • There is no way expedite the application at USCIS.
    • You are not permitted study as an F-1 student until the F-1 application to USCIS is approved.
    • F-1 benefits are not applicable until application is approved. Such benefits include time counted for curricular practical training (CPT)/internship, and Optional Practical training (OPT).
    • Must remain in the U.S. while application is pending.
    • Once application is approved, once you leave the U.S. you will need to obtain the F-1 visa stamp before re-entering.


  1. Must be eligible for a change of status.
  2. Must be admitted to CSUSB.
  3. Cannot have violated current status, nor can your current status be expired.


  1. Individuals in J status who are subject to the two-year home-country residence requirement cannot do a change of status within the U.S.
  2. Persons admitted under the Visa Waiver Program (marked 'W/T' or 'W/B' on the I-94) cannot change nonimmigrant status.
  3. A vocational student in M status cannot change to F status.


  1. Make an appointment with The Immigration Specialist to evaluate your case.
  2. Submit a change of status case request to CISPs at
  3. Remain in the U.S. and maintain the requirements of your current status.

More details on changes status to an F-1 visa can be found at the Study in the States website at