University of Houston-Victoria

International Programs

Change to F1 Status

Change to F-1 Status While in the United States

Change to F-1 Status While in the United States

With certain exceptions, a person who is a nonimmigrant visa holder already in the U.S. may apply for a change to F-1 status.

The following conditions must apply in order for the status change to occur:

  • He/she has maintained lawful nonimmigrant status up to the time the application is filed
  • The applicant's current nonimmigrant status of the applicant will continue to be valid up until the date that the new status is requested to begin.
    • Students who have current visas nearing the expiration date may process the change of status through a private immigration attorney or through the ELIS online system. Change of status to F1 visa may be denied if sufficient time is not remaining for the process to be completed before the current status expires. 

All dependents (spouses and unmarried children under age 21) who are requesting to change status in the same nonimmigrant F-2 category may be included with the F-1 applicant on one Form I-539 - Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status.

Students requesting a change to F-1 status must be fully approved for admission to a program at UHV before an I-20 can be issued for the process.


Some programs at UHV will not support enrollment requirements for F-1 visa holders due to a majority of online class instruction throughout the program. Please see our Academic Majors Guide for programs that F-1 visa holders may choose from.

Students who hold other nonimmigrant visas such as H4 and L2 may enroll in any UHV program, but their visa may expire or circumstances change before their program of study ends.  Upon submission of the request to change their status to F-1 visa, a review of the student's program of study may result in a denial for the request if their program does not have the required face-to-face courses to properly maintain F-1 visa status. However, several programs at UHV may be completed online from other states or countries outside of the United States.


Persons admitted to the United States in the following nonimmigrant categories may not change to F-1 status while in the U.S.: C, D, K-1, K-2, S, TWOV, WT, WB. There are also restrictions for J-1 and M-1 visa holders.

Steps to Take

Required Documents

Enrollment and Tuition Comparison