Changing Visa Status to F-1
If you are intending to study, or already studying at Texas State University in a nonimmigrant visa classification other than F-1 student, it may be possible to apply to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for a change of status to F-1.
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Change of Status Process
The Change of Status (COS) process only changes your status, for example, the classification indicated on your I-94 record and not the visa stamp in your passport.
To receive the F-1 visa stamp in your passport, you can either:
- Obtain form I-20 stating "Change of Status" and apply for a change of status in the US using the Form I-539 (and Form I-539A if you have dependents).
- Average processing time for change of status inside the US is about 18 months but students now have the option to complete their change of status inside the country my filing with premium processing and receiving decision within 30 calendar days once all prerequisites have been met.
- Important Update for in country change of status: Every co-applicant included on the primary applicant’s Form I-539 must submit and sign a separate Form I-539A. Parents may sign on behalf of children under 14 or any co-applicant who is not mentally competent to sign. Every applicant and co-applicant must pay an $85 biometric services fee, except certain A, G, and NATO nonimmigrants as noted in the new Form I-539 Instructions. Every applicant and co-applicant will receive a biometric services appointment notice, regardless of age, containing their individual receipt number. The biometric services appointments will be scheduled at the Application Support Center (ASC) closest to the primary applicant’s address. Co-applicants who wish to be scheduled at a different ASC location should file a separate Form I-539. USCIS will reject any revised Form I-539 that is missing any of the required signatures or biometrics fees, including those required for Form I-539A.
- Obtain a Form I-20 from International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) and return to your home country to apply for an F-1 visa at a US consulate to reenter the US as an F-1 student. Review Steps After Being Admitted and complete Step 1 to request an I-20 to apply for an F-1 visa outside the US.
International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) strongly recommends traveling outside the US with a new Form I-20 and applying for an F-1 visa in your home country. The in-country change of status application is timely and unpredictable.
An experienced immigration lawyer is best positioned to advise on all aspects of any change of status application, including the timing, type, and number of bridge applications that may have to be filed, exploring alternative immigration strategies such as consular processing and reentry instead of applying for change of status, responding to Requests for Evidence (RFEs), and other matters that relate to the personal immigration status of the student and his or her dependents.
A change of status application is a personal application of the applicant, and can have a complex impact on the applicant's immigration status and eligibility for future immigration benefits. DSOs have general knowledge surrounding change of status applications but applicants needing immigration advice and help planning an immigration strategy should seek counsel from an experienced immigration attorney.