Change of Status to F-1 Student

If you wish to change your non-immigrant status to F-1 and are traveling outside the U.S., you must apply for an F-1 visa at a U.S. embassy/consulate and use your I-20 issued by the University to re-enter the U.S.  Although costly, this is often the fastest way to become an F-1 student.  If your current non-immigrant status is expired, then this option is the best choice.

If your current stay is not expired and you wish to change your non-immigrant status to F-1 while you stay in the United States, please follow these instructions.  A change of status only changes your permission to stay in the U.S., i.e. your I-94 card.  You do not receive an F-1 visa stamp in your passport with an approved change of status.  This means that if you need to travel outside of the U.S. in the future, generally you will be required to apply for an F-1 visa at a U.S. embassy/ consulate.  There is no guarantee that an F-1 visa stamp will be issued even if the U.S. immigration service approved your change of status to F-1 student.  For this reason, students often feel more comfortable leaving the U.S. and applying for the F-1 visa first before they make an investment in school.

Instructions for applying for a change of status:

Step 1.
Apply for admission to U.B.  Once you are admitted and have met all admission requirements, the Admissions Office will notify you to speak with an International Student Advisor.

Step 2.
Meet with an International Student Advisor at the International Student Services Office.  Please make an appointment by calling (203) 576-4395.  Please make sure to bring your current passport and I-94 card at the time of your appointment.  Not all categories of visas allow a student to begin study before a change of status to F-1 is granted and not all categories of visas are allowed to change status to F-1.  Please do not begin school without speaking with an International Student Advisor first.

Step 3.
If you are eligible for change of status, the International Student Advisor will email the International Admissions Office to issue a change of status I-20.

Step 4.
After receiving the I-20, pay the SEVIS fee of $200 at and print out your payment receipt.


Documents required/recommended for filing for change of status:

  • Form I-539
  • Fee of $290.00
  • $200 SEVIS fee receipt
  • Photocopy of both sides of the I-94 card if you have a paper I-94. Electronic I-94 is available here.
  • Copy of I-20s including the one you received from International Admissions at U.B.
  • Photocopy of passport information page, expiration date (at least 6 months validity period), and U.S. visa page.
  • Bank statements for the past 3 months (savings or checking account only); For non-personal funds, an ORIGINAL affidavit of support is required. If you don’t have a notarized affidavit of support (because notary is not readily available in your country), you may download the form .
  • Letter explaining why you want to change your status (Sample Letter)
  • Proof of registration and payment of tuition and fees if you are allowed to attend school and are currently attending (certain status holders such as B1/B2 and F-2 can only attend part-time in school until change of status is approved)
  • Proof of your U.S. address (example: lease, utility bill, phone bill, bank statements)
  • Proof of your home country address (example: evidence of ownership of property of yourself or your family, driver’s license)

For students changing status from F-2 to F-1 add the following:

  • Copy of marriage certificate
  • copy of spouse’s I-20, visa, I-94, passport information/expiration date
  • letter from spouse’s school verifying current F-1 status

Note:  Do not start school until a change of status to F-1 is granted!

For students changing status from B-1/B-2 to F-1 add the following:

  • Copy of evidence showing original purpose of U.S. visit.  For example, travel itinerary, round trip airplane ticket, business itinerary, etc.

Note:  Do not start school until a change of status to F-1 is granted!

For students changing from another status (H-1, H-4, R-1, etc.) add the following:

  • Copy of passport, visa, I-94
  • Copy of approval notice (front and back)
  • Past three paystubs and income tax returns
  • Marriage certificate, if applicable.

Note:  If you are in a dependent status, you must provide documentation to verify both your and your spouse’s legal status


  • If the Immigration Service approves your request to change your non-immigrant status, this does not change the visa stamp in your passport
  • If you were to leave the U.S. you would have to go to an U.S. embassy or consulate and apply for an F-1 Visa
  • You are required by law to notify the USCIS and the school within 10 days of any legal changes to your name or any change of address
  • Feel free to consult an immigration attorney regarding your application. This web page is created to inform students about the change of status process but does not constitute any legal advice