Once you have your Change of Status I-20, you will need to file your Change of Status application with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).
Since a change of status application depends not just on your eligibility for F-1 status, but also whether you have properly maintained your current immigration status, the ISS Team cannot review individual Change of Status applications, analyze documents or provide personalized guidance on your application.
If you have questions about how to prepare a successful Change of Status application or about your specific situation, we recommend that you speak with an experienced immigration attorney.
Information about Change of Status application:
- Study in the States Change of Status Website
- USCIS F-1 Change of Status Website
- Accurate and up-to-date USCIS filing information
Generally, Change of Status applications should include:
- Cover letter that outlines the documents you've included and explains why you want to change to F-1 status
- Completed and Signed USCIS Form I-539
- Checks for the filing fee ($370 filing fee) and biometric fee ($85 biometric fee)
- Documents that show you are qualified for F-1 status, including:
- F-1 I-20 issued to you by SCU (remember to sign it)
- Admission Letter
- Proof that you have funds to pay for SCU (including the Certification of Sponsorship if the funds are not in your name)
- Documents that show your current status, including:
- I-94, I-797 Approval Notices, any prior immigration documents, Passport, Visas
- If you are currently in a primary / work authorized status, you should show proof of maintenance of status (such as employment offer letter, 3 recent pay stubs) and should be prepared to show updated documents throughout the entire period that your Change of Status application is pending.
- If you are currently in a dependent status, you should include:
- Documents that show your qualifying relationship (i.e. birth or marriage certificate, with translation, if needed)
- Documents that show the primary immigration status has been maintained (for example, primary family member's I-94, I-797 Approval Notices, prior immigration documents, Passport, Visas and proof of maintenance of status such as employment offer letter, 3 recent pay stubs). Your family should be prepared to show updated documents throughout the entire period that your Change of Status application is pending.
Once Your Application Is Ready to Be Mailed
- Keep copies of all documents that you've mailed.
- Mail your application via a traceable method (such as FedEx or UPS)
Once Your Application Has Been Mailed
- Receive your receipt notice in the mail (about 2 weeks after mailing).
- Check for typos (contact an ISS Advisor if there are any).
- Track the status of your case online using your USCIS receipt number.
- The application will be pending for a very long time. There is no way to expedite the application.
- You must maintain your current immigration status while the application is pending. If you are not able to do this, you should immediately notify the ISS Team via email.
- You must stay in the U.S. until your case has been approved. Travel while the case is pending will abandon the application.
- If you get a Request for Evidence (RFE), notify the ISS Team via email (include a copy of the RFE in the email).
- Contact an ISS Advisor if you have any questions.
- Do not contact the government directly; this will only delay your application.
Once Your Application Has Been Approved
- You will receive an I-797, Approval Notice (which will include a new I-94) in the mail.
- Check for typos or errors (notify the ISS Team via email if you find any)
- Complete Immigration Check-In by visiting ISS during drop-in advising hours with a copy of your I-797 Approval Notice
- If you leave the U.S. after your change of status is approved, you will need to apply for a new F-1 visa stamp in your passport before you will be allowed to re-enter the U.S.
Disclaimer: U.S. immigration regulations are complex and change frequently. While we strive to maintain a website that is both current and helpful, Santa Clara University is not responsible for students maintaining lawful immigration status; this is the responsibility of the student. Links provided do not constitute endorsement by Santa Clara University.