Office of Admissions
International Student Services

Steps to Take For
Change to F-1 Visa Status


Step 1 - Contact the International Admissions Office

To apply for a change to F-1 status, you must submit the following documents to the Office of Admissions and Records, International Admissions. 

  • F-1 Student Visa Form with completed information including a valid international address.  If you plan to include dependents on the change of status application, you must show additional proof of funds and list each dependent's information on this form.  See the link for this form under the International Student Admission heading in the left column of this webpage.  
  • Copy of Financial Support Documents - Bank/financial information must be current, not older than 6 months, and must include the sponsor's name and current address. 

You will be notified when your I-20 has been prepared, and you will schedule an appointment to sign the document.  You must login to the SEVIS Fee Payment site and pay the $200 SEVIS fee using the information on the I-20 document.  Bring the items below to the appointment.  Your change of status application cannot be sent until all documents have been submitted to International Student Services.  Students who will file the application through an attorney or use the ELIS electronic filing process please see additional information at the bottom of this page.

Step 2 - Prepare Your Documents

  • Review your I-20. Print name, sign and date the I-20 on page 1 where indicated.  (This may be done during the appointment.)  Make sure there are no mistakes on the I-20 document.  A copy of the signed document will be included with your change of status application.
  • Form I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status - Complete the entire form.  For an online copy, go to the USCIS Forms Page and complete Form I-539 before printing.  A hand-written signature is required. Email international@uhv.edu if you have questions about any of the items.
  • Form G-1145 e-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance - This form will be used by USCIS to send you notification by email or text if they have questions or need additional information about your change of status.  This form is optional and is used if students want to be notified by email.
  • Letter from student to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security explaining why you want to change your visa status to F-1.  Address the letter "To Whom It May concern".  Be sure to specify in your letter whether your spouse is currently working and when their work period is scheduled to end if you are on a dependent visa based on employment.
  • Copy of your I-94 Admission document - Students who did not receive a paper copy I-94 should go to www.cbp.gov/I94 to obtain the electronic record.  Print the information to bring with your other documents.
  • Copy of passport and visa.  If your current passport or visa documents have expired, you will not be approved for the change to F-1 status.
  • Copy of spouse or dependent documents, if needed:  passport, visa, and paper (front and back) or electronic I-94 documents.  If you are the dependent of an H1B or L1 visa holder, you should provide documentation such as a letter from the employer stating their current work status, and expected termination date or duration of employment.
  • Proof of $200 SEVIS fee payment (www.FMJfee.com) Go to the website, pay the fee, print your receipt to include with the I-539 application documents.  You will use the SEVIS I-20 number for this process.
  • $290 check or money order payable to:  U.S. Department of Homeland Security (do not abbreviate)

Step 3 - Documents Will Be Prepared for Submission to USCIS

Once the requested items above are reviewed by UHV, they will be assembled and prepared for submission to the USCIS Texas Service Center by the student.  The preferred method is overnight shipping which may be tracked, and receipt documented.  The student must make copies of all documents that will be submitted. Sending the documents to the USCIS Service Center will be the responsibility of  the student.  The documents may be sent by US postal service, or by courier service (FedEx, UPS, Lone Star).  Here are the addresses for both options:

 

    U.S. Postal Service:                 Courier Service:
    
USCIS                                        USCIS
    PO Box 660166                          ATTN: I-539
    Dallas TX 75266                         2501 S State Hwy 121 Business, Suite 400
                                                        Lewisville TX 75067

IMPORTANT:  The change of status process may take from 90 to 120 days to complete. If the I-20 program start date (item 5 on Form I-20) arrives before the change of status is approved, the DSO must update the start date to a future semester in order to avoid auto-cancellation of the I-20 by SEVIS. It is the student's responsibility to notify the international student services DSO about the progress of your change of status application, and whether it has been approved or denied. 

Within one week of submitting the documents, the student will receive a Notice of Action form stating the service center has received your documents and will begin the process. Students must send a copy of this notice to intladmissions@uhv.edu to ensure tracking of the change of status.

Optional e-File Submission or Use of Personal Attorney - Additional Requirements

Students may choose to e-file the application documents for their change of status through the USCIS ELIS website to complete the process, or hire a personal attorney to complete the application for them.  If so, there are additional steps students must be aware of.

  • The I-20 will be available to the student for signature by appointment with a UHV staff member. The student can review the I-20 for accuracy and take the original document with them at that time. 
  • Student must pay the SEVIS fee to submit the change of status application.  See information regarding this fee, directions about payment, and how to submit your payment on the web page for SEVIS Fee Payment.  A copy of the I-901 SEVIS fee payment receipt should be emailed to international@uhv.edu for the student's record.
  • A Form I-797 Notice of Action will be sent by email or mail from USCIS to the person who filed the application.  A copy of this Notice of Action must be sent by email to international@uhv.edu for the student's record.
  • The change of status process may take from 90 to 120 days to complete.  If the I-20 program start date (item 5 on Form I-20) arrives before the change of status is approved, the DSO must update the start date to a future semester in order to avoid auto-cancellation of the I-20 by SEVIS.  It is the student's responsibility to notify the international student services DSO about the progress of your change of status application before the first class day and immediately when the student is notified, whether it has been approved or denied.
  • During the adjudication process, if the current visa status held allows enrollment the student should enroll in full-time classes and attend the next available international student orientation session scheduled.

Please see additional information in the left column of this page under the Change to F1 Status heading.