Change of Status
A change of status allows an individual who is in the U.S. and is maintaining a lawful non-immigrant status to change to an F-1 or J-1 international student status. Under these categories, the primary purpose for remaining in the U.S. is to study, thus full-time enrollment is required. The procedure to change status can be completed within the U.S. and takes a few months from the time the application is filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Students are encouraged to contact an ISC immigration adviser to determine eligibility based on current non-immigrant status. They will also address the advantages and disadvantages of changing status within the U.S.; or traveling outside the U.S., obtaining an F-1 or J-1 visa and re-entering with the new status.
Checklist and requirements to apply for Change of Status
J-1 students subject to the two-year home residency requirement are not eligible for a change of status within the U.S., except to an A visa (diplomatic or government official) or G visa(international organization).
Important Note on travel: Students whose change of status applications are pending at USCIS are recommended not to travel outside the United States, as this would be considered abandonment of the change of status application.
FORMS and FILES