Saint Louis University

Changing Your Visa Status

The following information will assist nonimmigrants who wish to change their status to F-1.

There are two ways to obtain a new visa status:

  1. Exit the U.S., obtain the appropriate visa, and return to the U.S. with the visa.  Upon re-entry, you will receive an I-94 card indicating your new status. 
  2. Submit an application to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  They will provide a decision about a new status in approximately 2-4 months.  You can remain in the U.S. during the adjudication process and assume the new status immediately after the approval is issued.  The change of status through USCIS does not provide a visa.  On future travel outside the U.S. you would need to obtain a new visa for re-entry.
  3. 

Note: All applicants must be admitted to an academic program before applying for a change of status. Some visa statuses (for example, H-4, H-1B, J-2) allow for study before changing status and others do not (for example F-2, B1/B-2). If you have questions about your current visa status, please contact Cathy Donahue.

Changing your immigration status by travel

An individual that is in C, D, K, M status, or J status and is subject to the 2-year home residence requirement, and those admitted under the Visa Waiver Program must change status by travel.  Only a person holding a B-2 visa with the notation "prospective student" will be able to change status in the U.S.

  1. Obtain an I-20.  If you wish to change status to F-1, you will need to gain admission or show that you are a current student in an academic program before we can issue an I-20.  We will also need to verify your financial situation through an original bank statement and/or sponsorship letter. 
  2. Visa Interview.  You will need to travel outside the U.S.  While many U.S. Consulates will review visa applications for individuals that are not citizens of the country, it is highly recommended to return to your home country to obtain the visa.  There are a number of documents that you will need to take with you in order to apply for a visa.  Please refer to the information about applying for an initial student visa
  3. Arriving in the U.S. Once you have obtained the visa, you will return to the U.S. and an I-94 card will be marked with your new visa class.  Verify that the border official has marked the correct visa class on your I-94 card before leaving.

Changing your immigration status by application

An individual that is in C, D, K, M status, or J status and is subject to the 2-year home residence requirement, and those admitted under the Visa Waiver Program must change status by travel. Only a person holding a B-2 visa with the notation "prospective student" will be able to change status in the U.S.

  1. Obtain an I-20 from the OIS. If you wish to change status to F-1, you will need to gain admission or show that you are a current student in an academic program before we can issue an I-20. We will also need to verify your financial situation through an original bank statement and/or sponsorship letter.
  2. Properly completed Form I-539. You will need a statement and supporting documents to respond to Part 4, Question 3g and to your financial situation.
  3. Original Form I-94.
  4. Copy of your passport page(s) showing the photo and signature of the applicant and validity of the passport.  A copy of your current visa.
  5. A fee of $290 in check or money order payable to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
  6. Copy of the Form I-797 receipt for the SEVIS fee.  What is SEVIS?

A PDF of the information can be found on our International Services Forms page.

 

 

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