Change of Status
In order to change to your immigration status in the Unites States, your present stay must be legal. In addition, you must be in status that the permissible by law be changed to F-1 or F-2 status. There are several ways to apply for a change of immigration status:
- You can travel back home or outside the U.S.; apply for a new visa at a U.S. consulate, and then re-enter the U.S. within the new status.
- You can submit a change of status application to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services while remaining in the U.S.
You must first apply to Kean University and get admitted. As soon as you are issued your SEVIS I-20, do the following steps:
- A check or money order of $290 payable to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
- Original form I-539 completed and signed properly
- Original form I-20 signed properly
- A copy of your SEVIS fee receipt, verifying that you have paid the SEVIS fee
- Letter addressed to the USCIS containing the following information:
- Explain your circumstances; include why you entered the U.S as a nonimmigrant and why and how your intentions changed after arrival in the U.S.
- Explain how this education will help you when you return to your home country
- Affidavit of support and financial statements to show that you have the financial means to support your study at Kean
- Photocopy of your current I-94 (front and back)
- Photocopy of your most recent visa
- Photocopy of your valid passport page showing both the picture and expiration date
To complete your change of status application, you must submit the supporting documents required pertaining to your present status.
Additional Requirements to Change from F-2 Dependent to F-1 Student:
- Photocopy of your spouse and/or parent’s F-1 documents
- Form I-20 of your spouse and/or parent indicating that they are in status
- Biographical information and picture page of your spouse and/or parent’s passport
- Most recent visa of your spouse and/or parents
- Photocopy of the I-94 (front and back) of your spouse and/or parents
Additional Requirements to Change from F-1 Student to F-2 Dependent Status:
- Original dependent I-20 received from Kean University
- Photocopy of your current I-20
- All previous I-20 form
Additional Requirements to Change from H-1B Employee to F-1 Student:
When you apply for change of status you may face some risk associated with changing status from H-1B to F-1. The H-1B visa category is dual intent (immigrant and nonimmigrant intent), it is more difficult to prove nonimmigrant intent when attempting to change your status to F-1 or when applying for an F-1 visa. Even if you are successful in changing your status to F-1 through the USCIS, you may not succeed in obtaining an F-1 visa at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy.
- Photocopies of your H-1B documents
- I-797 Approval Notice
- H-1B visa
Additional Requirements to Change from B-1/B-2 Tourist to F-1 Student:
Applying to Kean to change your status from B-1/B-2 to F-1 shortly after arrival to the U.S. may arouse suspicion. It may suggest that you purposely misrepresented your intention to obtain a U.S. visa and enter the U.S. Usually the USCIS denies applications for changes of status for tourist who have already have had contact with American universities or who carry school records with them shortly after their entry to the U.S. Nevertheless, if your B-1/B-2 visa or I-94 card is marked as “A Prospective Student” or you spent several months in the U.S. before entering into contact with an American university, your application for change of status has a better chance of being approved. If you want to obtain the notation on your I-94 at the airport remember to inform the consular officer in the U.S Embassy or Consulate or the immigration officer at the U.S. Port of Entry of your intention.
Additional Requirements to Change from J-1 Exchange Visitor to F-1 Student include:
- Waiver document or “no objection” statement from the U.S. Department of State
If the student has J-2 dependent requiring F-2 dependent status, the following documents must be included in the application
- Visa page
- SEVIS DS-2019 (Dependent)
- Marriage certificate if applying for F-2 for your spouse
- Birth certificate if applying for F-2 for your children
Please make an appointment with the International Student Services advisor to review your completed application before submitting it to the USCIS.
Where do I send my application?
You can mail your completed application to the USCIS by certify mail or reliable overnight service to:
U.S. Department of Homeland Security or
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Vermont Service Center
75 Lower Welden Street
St. Albans, VT 05479
Important Points to remember:
- There are always risks associated when applying for a new visa. These risks include mandatory interviews, lengthy background checks, and the requirement to prove nonimmigrant intent. Sometimes such risks may not only cause delays, but may also result in visa denial.
- The estimated processing time is about 2-6 months from the time your application is received. Please report outcome to the ISS.
- Bring a photocopy of your I-20 and new I-94 card (front and back)
- You may attend classes while you are waiting for your change of status from H-1B to F-1.
- You may not attend classes as an F-2 Dependent or B-1/B-2 Tourist while your application for change of status to F-1 is pending. You must wait until you have received approval for the change of status to F-1 student from the USCIS before you register for classes at Kean
- If you are an H-4 dependent child of an H-1B holder, you must change your status before reaching the age of 21.