The OIA strongly advises that students who wish to change visa status do so by obtaining the correct immigration documents and applying at the U.S. embassy in their home country. Because the process to change immigration status while remaining in the U.S. is time-consuming, expensive, restricts employment and enrollment, and has a high risk of denials, we encourage students to review all the regulations before pursuing this option. Please note that only a licensed immigration attorney can provide guidance on this process.
If you want to change the purpose of your visit while in the United States, you (or in some cases your employer) must file a request with USCIS on the appropriate form before your authorized stay expires. For instance, if you arrived here as a tourist (B1/B2) but want to become a student, you must submit an application to change your status. B1/B2 visa holders are not eligible to enroll in post-secondary institutions (universities, colleges, community colleges). We recommend that you apply as soon as you determine that you need to change to a different nonimmigrant category.
Until you receive approval from USCIS, do not assume the status has been approved, and do not change your activity in the United States. If you fail to maintain your nonimmigrant status, you may be barred from returning to and/or removed (deported) from the United States. Your authorized status and the date your status expires can be found in the lower right-hand corner of your Form I-94, Arrival-Departure Record. All students who wish to change their status in the U.S., should review this document and read through USCIS regulations on change of status. Once you determine that you will change your status in the U.S., please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please remember that your status is not changed until you receive an official I-797 Approval Notice from USCIS.
The F-1 student visa is designated as 'non-immigrant.' Students who file the I-485 application to adjust their immigration status from non-immigrant (F-1) to immigrant status are considered to be pending permanent residence. Once the I-485 is filed, it may take months or years before an individual receives the adjudication from USCIS. Please consult a licensed immigration attorney for questions about this process. Students who have filed an I-485 may choose the maintain their F-1 status during the time their case is pending with USCIS. All F-1 students who file I-485 should communicate wtih our office and complete the I-485 Permanent Resident Pending Decision For F-1 Students form to indicate whether or not they choose to maintain F-1 status while their I-485 is pending. Students who opt to abandon their F-1 status during this time will have their I-20s terminated for whichever violation of F-1 status occurs. Students who maintain their F-1 status and receive permanent residence (aka green card) from USCIS, will have their I-20s terminated for 'Change of Status Approved' once our office receives a copy (both front and back) of the permanent residence card (green card).