CampusLife

International Student & Scholar Services

Questions?

  • Int'l Student / Scholar Svcs
    202-885-3350
    Fax: 202-885-3354
    Butler Pavilion, Room 410

    Open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. ISSS advisors are available at the front desk for walk-in appointments.

    Bakar, Senem S
    Director, International Student & Scholar Services

Mailing Address

Change of Status: F-2 to F-1

To change your immigration status from F-2 to F-1, please follow the procedure outlined below. Please note the following:

  • This change of status application is to change your immigration status: IT DOES NOT GRANT YOU A VISA. The next time you travel outside the U.S. you will be required to go to a U.S. consulate or embassy abroad to apply for an F-1 visa.
  • You and your primary F-1 visa holder must still be maintaining status on the date that you file the change of status application. In other words, your your F-2 visa status must not have expired at the time of change of status application.
  • The change of visa status application can be submitted online by using the Electronic Immigration System (ELIS), or by mail. ELIS is designed to streamline the processing of change of status applications and allow applicants to track the status of their applications. ISSS highly encourages students to utilize this online application system, as it may be faster and is easy to use. If you decide to submit your application online through ELIS, there is a processing fee of $290.00. There is no processing fee for change of status applications from A to F submitted by mail.
  • Your will be not eligible to enroll in the program you are admitted until the change of status is approved.

Steps to Follow:

  1. Obtain an I-20 from American University and prepare the documents listed below before you begin your application. To obtain an I-20 from ISSS, submit proof of financial support (bank statement, scholarship letter, affidavit of support, etc.), and CFIS form. For estimated costs per program of study, please check the cost guides for international students here.

    Note: Please have a credit/debit card handy to use for SEVIS fee and online filing fee payments. Scan and save all the documents listed below with the appropriate file name in a PDF format before starting the application process, if you plan to use the ELIS online application system. Keep a photocopy of each item for your records.
  2. Pay SEVIS fee of $200 online at SEVIS I?901 Fee processing website . Remember to print out payment receipt.
  3. Complete I-539 Application to Extend/Change Non-Immigrant Status (only if you want to submit your application by mail)
  4. Prepare a letter requesting the change of status and explaining the circumstances, which merit such a change. This could include how your full-time study in F-1 status will support your academic and career goals. An ISSS advisor may review the draft letter for you.
  5. Copy of biographic page of your passport with expiration date.
  6. Copy of F-2 visa stamp.
  7. Copy of Spouse's I-20
  8. Copy of I-94 card or if you don’t have paper I-94, a printout from CBP site (include dependent’s I-94, if applicable)
  9. Copy of official admission letter from American University.
  10. Copy of signed I-20 from American University.
  11. Copy of proof of financial support (bank statement, scholarship letter, affidavit of support, etc.) dated within the past three months and an English translations, if needed.
  12. If you chose to apply online, create an individual online account on ELIS (Electronic Immigration System). To create an ELIS account, please visit USCIS ELIS site:
    • Click on ELIS (Electronic Immigration System) on the left hand side of the web page, and
    • Create Account
  13. For a step by step guide about filing your change of status application on ELIS, please see the ELIS instructions page.
  14. Submit your application after carefully answering the questions in the online application form, uploading the above documents, and making an online payment of $290.00 for filing fee. Make sure to complete your application on a computer connected to a printer so you could print the receipt and a print out of your application.
  15. When you receive your Notice of Action Approval (I797A) form with the change to F-1 status, please bring the Notice of Action Approval (I-797A) form and Passport to ISSS so that ISSS activate your SEVIS status. 
Disclaimer:These materials have been prepared for general information purposes only. They do not constitute legal advice or serve as a substitute for legal counsel.