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F1 Visa Requirement

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					                                     REQUIREMENTS TO
                                    CHANGE STATUS TO F-1

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. 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:
�� Apply for admission to SHU. Once you are admitted, an I-20 form will be issued to you.
  1.
�� Meet with the International Student Advisor at the Student Life Office. Please make an appointment by
  2.
calling (203) 371-7846. 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 the International Student Advisor first.
�� Mail the following to your regional United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) office:
  3.
�� Completed form I-539 (application to extend/change non-immigrant status).
  a.
�� Fee of $300.00 for Form I-539, make a check or money order payable to “US Department of Homeland
  b.
Security.” Do not send cash!
�� Photocopy of both sides of the I-94 card from your passport.
  c.
�� All three original pages of the I-20 issued by SHU. Print your name, sign and date page 1 at the bottom.
  d.
�� Photocopy of passport information page, expiration date, and U.S. visa page.
  e.
�� Evidence of financial support. For example: bank statement, scholarship award letter, documentation from
  f.
sponsor, etc. This may be a copy or original documents. When including bank statements from an account you
have in the U.S., include your last 4 statements, not a letter from the bank. Include sufficient documentation
from any sponsor, such as tax returns, statement of sponsorship, wages, bank statements, etc. Bank letters are
not generally accepted by the immigration service.
�� Letter explaining why you want to change your status (see sample below).
  g.
�� Proof of registration and payment of tuition and fees, if you are currently attending school; or proof of
  h.
paying application fee if you have not yet begun school.
�� Proof of your U.S. address (example: lease, utility bill, phone bill, bank statements) and your home country
  i.
address (example: evidence of ownership of property of yourself or your family, driver’s license).
�� Support letter from the International Student Advisor giving your application date and
  j.
acceptance date.

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
 k.
��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 or 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
  l.
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 evidence showing your current legal status including:
 m.
�� copy of passport, visa, I-94
�� copy of approval notice if applicable
�� paystubs and income tax returns, if applicable
�� marriage certificate, if applicable.
For students subject to Special Registration:
�� Evidence of having completed Special Registration.
 n.

If you live in Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, or Rhode Island, the above mentioned items
should be mailed to:

United States Citizenship & Immigration Services
Vermont Service Center
75 Lower Welden Street
St. Albans, VT 05479-0001.

Remember: (1) 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. (2) You are required by law to notify the USCIS within 10
days of any legal changes to your name or any change of address. If such changes occur while your change of
status application is pending with USCIS, please notify both the school and the USCIS within 10 days of such
change.




SAMPLE LETTER

Date

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
Vermont Service Center
75 Lower Welden Street
St. Albans, VT 05479-0001

RE: Change of status from (insert your current status) to F-1

To Whom It May Concern:

In the first paragraph explain when you entered the U.S., in what status, and for what purpose.

Next explain when you learned about the opportunity to study in the U.S. and, specifically, at SHU. Explain
your motivation to go to SHU. Specify what your source of funding is and how long you will be in school. If
you entered the U.S. in B-2 prospective student status, explain why you did not receive an F-1 student visa at
the U.S. consulate/embassy.

Include a statement of your intentions to return home after you complete your study at SHU.

Sincerely,
(Sign your name)

				
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