Change of Status in the U.S.
An alien currently in the United States may apply for a change to F-1 status if he/she has maintained lawful nonimmigrant status up to the time the application is filed.
What is change of status?
Status is determined by the purpose of your visit to the U.S. Some students are in the U.S. with one status and would like to file to change that status to F-1 or J-1. Students in the U.S. as dependents are required to change status before their 21st birthday. Change of status involves filing an application with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, USCIS.
Frequently Asked Questions
If I have another visa type, am I required to change my status to F-1 or J-1 status to attend UCSC as a full time student? It depends on your current status. Read the information below to determine if you are required to change to F-1 status to study full time. F-2 Dependent Status If you currently hold F-2 status, you are required to change to F-1 to be a full time enrolled student. Those in F-2 status will not be permitted to enroll at UCSC. Tourist Visa If you are visiting the U.S. on a tourist visa (B1/B2) or on the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), you are not permitted to enroll in classes, or file to change status within the U.S. To obtain F-1 or J-1 status you are required to leave the U.S. and apply for the appropriate visa from a U.S. consulate abroad. Dependent Minor You are required to change status before your 21st birthday, if you are a dependent minor with one of the following: H-4, E-2, L-2, TD. If you do not apply for change of status before your 21st birthday, you will no longer have a legal status in the U.S. Permanent Resident Status: Green Card If you have already filed an application with the USCIS to change your status to permanent resident (PR), also know as the "green card", you should not file to change status to F-1 or J-1. These are non immigrant statuses, and they certify intent to return to your home country after completion of your program. Permanent Residence applicants should consult their immigration attorney before making status changes of any kind.
How long does the application process take? Once the proper documents are submitted, the USCIS can take from 3-6 months to process and approve the application. What happens if my application is not approved by the start of the quarter, can I still attend UCSC? An applicant for change of nonimmigrant status to F-1 or J-1 may start attending school even before the application has been approved, except for those with F-2, or tourist (B1/B2) status. Deferred Enrollment If your change of status has not been approved by the start of the term and you currently hold F-2, you will not be permitted to enroll and your admission will be deferred to the next term. Contact the admissions office immediately if this happens. What is my legal status while the application is pending? The application must be filed with the USCIS prior to the expiration date of your current status. If your current status expires while the application is pending with the USCIS, you continue in an “authorized period of stay” until the application is approved. What happens if my application is denied? If your application has been denied by the USCIS you will need to consult with the International Advisor to discuss your options. Can I travel out of the U.S. while the application is pending? No, travel out of the U.S. is not permitted while the application is pending at USCIS. If you leave the U.S. the application will be terminated and you will need to apply for a visa at the U.S. consulate in your home country in order to re-enter the U.S. Can I be employed by UCSC while my application is pending? No, only students with F-1 and J-1 status are allowed to accept on-campus employment. You are not permitted to accept employment from UCSC until your change of status application has been approved by the USCIS. Will I be charged the non-resident tuition and fees? Yes, all students with F-1 or J-1 status must pay the non-resident tuition and fees. For more information about this consult with the Residency Deputy in the office of the registrar. Contact Laurie Salatich at 459-2754 or Email at email@example.com.
Instructions for Change of Status
New Students: Contact the appropriate admissions office. To obtain the I-20 or
DS-2019 form, submit a financial certificate form directly to the admissions office. Undergraduate students - contact Jill Sakamoto at 831-459-2131 or Email firstname.lastname@example.org Graduate Students - contact Bunny Perez at 831-459-4975 or Email email@example.com
Current/continuing Students: Must work directly with the International
Advisor in the ISSS office. To obtain an I-20 or DS-2019 form, submit the financial certificate form directly to the ISSS Office, 831-459-3550 or Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Step 1: Review the USCIS change of status guidelines Step 2: Download the ISSS Financial Certificate Form at: http://oie.ucsc.edu/is3/students/stu_files.shtml Step 3: Complete all of the information on the financial certificate form and provide proof of funding. Submit the financial certificate to the appropriate office (admissions or ISSS). Step 4: After the financial certificate has been received, your information will be entered into the SEVIS database to create an I-20 Form for F-1 or DS-2019 Form for J-1. This is the form that you will use to obtain F-1 or J-1 status. The I-20 Form will have a special note on it: “Initial Attendance Change of Status Requested.” The DS-2019 Form will have: “begin a new program.” Step 5: The student must file an application with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, USCIS. To apply for a change to F-1 status in the United States, the student must submit the following to USCIS: 1. Form I-539 Application to extend or change nonimmigrant status. Complete the entire form and sign it. The form is available on the USCIS web site. http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis 2. Original I-20 with student and DSO signature
3. Proof of payment of the SEVIS fee. For more information on the SEVIS fee go to: http://www.ice.gov/sevis/i901/index.htm 4. Photocopy of I-94, front and back 5. Photocopy of Passport Identity pages (face must be legible) 6. Photocopy of Visa page (face must be legible) 7. Photocopy of Financial Support Documents (at least 3 months worth) 8. Letter of admission to UCSC for the current term 9. Letter from the Student explaining why he/she wants to change status to F-1 or J-1 and that he/she intends to return to the home country. Mail the application, fee, and all the supporting documents to the USCIS. Keep a copy of all these documents before mailing them to the USCIS It is the students responsibility to follow the instructions and to submit all of the application materials directly to the USCIS. Step 6: Once the documents are filed at the USCIS, an official receipt notice will be mailed to you within a week or two. It will have the date the application was received and a case number. Keep this notice as it is very important. You’ll need this case number to check your case status on-line. You can check the application’s status at: http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis Step 7: After receiving the approval notice from the USCIS, the student will need to meet with the International Advisor in the ISSS Office so that we can review and copy your documents (approval notice, I-20 and I-94) and to register your record in the SEVIS database. IMPORTANT: All F-1 and J-1 Students must be registered in SEVIS within 30 days of the begin date on their I-20 or DS-2019. Students risk losing F or J status if the record is not registered. The ISSS office can not register the record without review of your legal documents.
Updated 4/19/07 JM