Change to F-1 Visa Status

All change of status applications require the following:

  • USCIS Form I-539
  • $300.00 Check or Money Order payable to USCIS (do not send cash), for one or more persons included in the application.
  • Photocopy of I-94 (small white card from your passport)
  • Proof of financial support
  • Letter from applicant stating reasons for change of status request
  • Additional application documents from one of the lists below

Additional Application Documents Required for Change of Status from B-2 (tourist) to F-1 (student):

  • Photocopy copy of visa stamp if "prospective student" is indicated
  • Original I-20 (pages 1-4) signed by applicant on page 1 and page 3
  • Visitors who entered the U.S. without a "prospective student" notation on their visa page must establish that their intention to enroll in a degree program was subsequent to their entry as a visitor.

Additional Application Documents Required for Change of Status from F-2 (spouse) to F-1 (student):

  • Original I-20 (pages 1-4) signed by applicant on page 1 and page 3
  • Photocopy of F-1 spouse's I-20 and I-94
  • Letter from school confirming full-time attendance of F-1 spouse

Additional Application Documents Required for Change of Status from F-1 (student) to F-2 (spouse):

  • Photocopy of applicant's I-20 and spouse's I-20
  • Letter from school confirming full-time attendance of F-1 spouse
  • Photocopy of marriage certificate

Additional Application Documents Required for Change of Status from E (treaty trader, treaty investor & dependents) L (intracompany transferee & dependents) or H (temporary worker) visa status to F-1 (student):

  • Original I-20 (pages 1-4) signed by applicant
  • Photocopy of approval or extension notice for H, E or L status if processed in the U.S.

Mail the application by certified mail at the Post Office to:

USCIS California Service Center
P.O. Box 10539
Laguna Niguel, CA 92607-0539

You will receive a receipt notice within approximately 30 - 60 days after the USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) receives your application. The receipt notice will indicate the current processing time for your application. However, it is possible for the processing to take longer than indicated. Currently, it is taking 5 or more months to process a change of status request.