UT Tyler

Office of International Programs

Change to F-1 Status

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.

To be eligible to request a change of status to F-1, you must:

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

*B-1/B-2 visa holders must meet additional requirements. Please consider consulting an immigration attorney. 

Application Process

1. Consult with an OIP International Student, Scholar & Faculty Services (ISSFS) Center international student advisor regarding your situation.

2. Submit any documents requested by your advisor during your consultation to the ISSFS Center within the stipulated timeframe.

3. If you are leaving the US for the change, you will receive an initial I-20 to take to a US consulate.

  • Upon your return to UT Tyler, notify ISSFS and supply copies of the I-20 and your new F-1 visa.

4. If you are remaining in the US, complete the I-539. You will receive an initial I-20 for Change of Status; request a follow-up appointment with your advisor to complete the application process.

  • Pay the SEVIS 901 fee and print receipt.
  • If you used the ISSFS address, the ISSFS office will notify you when your USCIS approval notification has been received.
  • If you used your home address, you must supply a copy of your new I-94 document.

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 B-1/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.
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