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Office of International Programs

Change to F-1 Status

There are two ways to change nonimmigrant status to F-1 status:

  • Leave the US, apply at a US consulate or embassy for a new visa and re-enter the US in F-1 status.
  • Remain in the US and petition the USCIS for a change of non-immigrant status to F-1.

To be eligible to request a change of status to F-1, you must:

  • Be admitted to a degree-seeking program with UT Tyler.
  • Be prepared to be full-time enrolled at UT Tyler for each fall and spring semester.
  • Hold a non-immigrant status other than C, D, K, M, WT/WB visitor or 212(e) subject J-1.
  • Be in a current, valid non-immigrant status.

Application Process

1. Review the Change of Status Guide for information regarding changing status inside or outside the US.

2. Consult with the OIP International Student, Scholars, and Faculty Services (ISSFS) center regarding your situation.

3. Submit the documents as described in the Change of Status Guide to the International Student, Scholar and Faculty Services office.

4. If you are leaving the US for the change, you will receive an initial I-20 to take to a US consulate.

  • If you left the US, upon return, notify ISSFS and supply copies of the I-20 and visa.

5. If you are remaining in the US, complete the I-539 found on the USCIS website. You will receive an initial I-20 for Change of Status and a request an appointment with the international student advisor to complete the application process.

  • Pay the SEVIS 901 fee and print receipt.
  • If you used the ISSFS address, the ISSFS office will notify you when your USCIS approval notification has been received.
  • If you used your home address, you must supply a copy of your new I-94 document. 

Waiting Times

  • The waiting times for visa appointments vary from country to country. Check the website of the US consulate you will visit for details.
  • USCIS processing times vary each semester. You should expect at least 2 – 4 months.
  • Students in non-study categories, such as F-2 or B-2, should not enroll until they receive written approval of the change to F-1 status.
  • Students in non-work categories, such as H-4, must wait until receiving written approval of the change to F-1 status before beginning on-campus employment.
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