F-1 | Change of Non-Immigrant Status
There are two methods that can be used to change your non-immigrant status (for example if you want to change from F-1 to F-2 or perhaps H-1B to F-1). You can apply from within the U.S. or travel outside the U.S. to change your status.
1. Outside the U.S.
Application is made for a visa for the new status at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
2. Within the U.S.
Applications are submitted to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). USCIS will accept applications 1) electronically through a system called ELIS or 2) by mail.
There are four primary components to every change of status application. The fifth component only applies to dependents (F-2, J-2, H-4, etc).
- USCIS Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status
- $290 filing fee
- Evidence applicant is eligible for the requested status
- Evidence applicant is maintaining current status at time of application
- If applicant's current or requested status is dependent on someone else's status it is necessary to show that person is also maintaining status (For example, an F-2 status is derivative of an F-1 status; therefore, the F-1 must maintain status in order for the F-2 to be in status).
It is important to understand that one is NOT applying to change visas but to change status. Please read Visa vs. Status for further explanation of the difference. If a change of status is approved, the applicant will not receive a new visa, but rather new status. The applicant is eligible for all the benefits of the newly approved status; however, if the applicant travels outside of the U.S.,it will be necessary for he/she to obtain a new visa while abroad in order to re-enter with the newly acquired status.
For more details or if you would like an ISSS advisor to review your change of status application before you submit it to USCIS, please call ISSS at (785) 864-3617 for an appointment.
For specifics of materials needed for common change of status, applications (e.g. F-1 to F-2, H-1B to F-1, etc.) see the Change of Status forms page. If you don't see the change you are seeking, contact ISSS for additional handouts.