Graduate International Student Admissions

Change to F-1 Status

Students who are currently in the US in a non-immigrant status other than F-1 may whish to change their non-immigrant status to F-1.

There are two ways to change nonimmigrant status to F-1 status:

  • Leave the US, apply at a US consulate or embassy for a new visa and re-enter the US in F-1 status.
  • Remain in the US and petition the USCIS for a change of non-immigrant status to F-1.

Once approved for F-1 status, you become eligible for all F-1 status benefits.


  • You must be admitted to a degree-seeking program with UT Tyler.
  • You must be prepared to be full-time enrolled at UT Tyler for each fall and spring semester of F-1 status.
  • You must hold a non-immigrant status other than C, D, K, M, WT/WB visitor or 212(e) subject J-1.
  • You must be in a current, valid non-immigrant status.

Application Process

  1. Review the Change of Status Guide for information regarding changing status inside or outside the US.
  2. Consult with the graduate international student advisor regarding your choices and required documents.
  3. Submit the documents as described in the Change of Status Guide to the Graduate Admissions office.
  4. Allow 3-5 business days for your documents to be processed. You will receive an email at your Patriots email when the completed documents are ready for pickup.
  5. If you are leaving the US for the change, you will receive an initial Form I-20 to take to a US consulate.
  6. If you are remaining in the US, you will receive an initial Form I-20 for Change of Status and a request to schedule an ELIS e-filing appointment with the international student advisor.
  7. Notify Graduate Admissions – The change of status process is not complete until the international student advisor registers your new status in SEVIS. If this step does not occur, your new status will expire in 30 days!
    • If you left the US, upon return notify Graduate Admissions and supply copies of the Form I-20, I-94 card or stamp, and visa.
    • If you remained in the US and used the Graduate Admissions address, Graduate Admissions will notify you when your USCIS approval notification has been received.
    • If you remained in the US and used your home address, you must supply a copy of your new I-94 card.

Waiting Times

  • The waiting times for visa appointments vary from country to country. Check the website of the US consulate you will visit for details.
  • USCIS processing times vary each semester. You should expect at least 2 – 4 months.
  • Students in non-study categories, such as F-2 or B-2, should not enroll until they receive written approval of the change to F-1 status.
  • Students in non-work categories, such as H-4, must wait until receiving written approval of the change to F-1 status before beginning on-campus employment.