Contact Us

202-885-3350

Fax: 202-885-3354

isss@american.edu

ISSS office walk-in advising hours: Mondays: 12:00 noon - 5:00 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Contact:
Bakar, Senem S
Director, International Student & Scholar Services

Butler Pavilion, Room 410

Int'l Student / Scholar Svcs 4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW
410 Butler Pavilion
Washington, DC, USA 20016-8041 United States

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Change of Visa Status

This information is for those individuals who are not in F-1 status and are planning to change their status to F-1 inside the United States. Please be aware that this application is to change your status: It will not grant you an F-1 visa stamp in your passport. The next time you travel outside the US, you must to go to a US consulate or embassy abroad to apply for an F-1 visa.

 

Please note that changing status within the US generally takes 3-6 months. Please allow ample time to complete this process.

To be eligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT) or Curricular Practical Training (CPT) after you change your status to F-1, you must have been enrolled full-time for at least one academic year prior to applying for OPT or CPT.

More information about changing your specific status type to F-1 student status is listed below. If you are interested in changing to J-1 status or do not see your status type listed below, please contact our office.

 

A change of status from B1/B2 to F-1 within the US is generally not advisable. We advise traveling outside of the US and applying for an F-1 visa.

A to F-1

You (or your primary A visa holder) must still be employed by the A-visa employer on the date that you file the change of status application. In other words, your A visa status must not have expired at the time you apply for a change of status.

  1. Obtain an I-20 from American University.
  2. Pay the SEVIS fee online. Remember to print out payment receipt.
  3. Mail application to USCIS. Include the following documents:
      • Biographic page of your passport with expiration date
      • Current US visa page in passport
      • Signed I-20 from American University
      • I-94 record of entry, which can be obtained from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website (include dependent's I-94, if applicable).
      • Proof of financial support (bank statement, scholarship letter, affidavit of support, etc.) dated within the past three months and an English translation, if needed.
      • Official admission letter from American University.

When you receive your Notice of Action Approval (I-797A) form with the change to F-1 status, please bring the Notice of Action Approval (I-797A) form and passport to ISSS to activate your F-1 SEVIS status.

F-2 to F-1

You and your primary F-1 visa holder must still maintain status on the date that you apply for the change of status. In other words, your F-2 visa status must not have expired at the time you apply for the change of status. You will not be eligible to enroll in the program you are admitted into until the change of status application is approved.

  1. Obtain an I-20 from American University.
  2. Pay the SEVIS fee online. Remember to print out payment receipt.
  3. Mail application to USCIS. Include the following documents:
    • Complete I-539 Application to Extend/Change Non-Immigrant Status
    • 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.
    • Copies of the following documents:
    • Biographic page of your passport with expiration date
    • Current US visa page in passport
    • Primary F-1's I-20
    • Your new I-20 from American University
    • I-94 record of entry, which can be obtained from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website (include dependent's I-94, if applicable).
    • Proof of financial support (bank statement, scholarship letter, affidavit of support, etc.) dated within the past three months and an English translation, if needed.
    • Official admission letter from American University.

When you receive your Notice of Action Approval (I-797A) form with the change to F-1 status, please bring the Notice of Action Approval (I-797A) form and passport to ISSS to activate your F-1 SEVIS status.

G to F-1

You (or your primary G visa holder) must still be employed by the G-visa employer on the date that you file the change of status application. That is, your A visa status must not have expired at the time you apply for a change of status.

  1. Obtain an I-20 from American University.
  2. Pay the SEVIS fee online. Remember to print out payment receipt.
  3. Mail application to USCIS. Include the following documents:
    • Biographic page of your passport with expiration date
    • Current US visa page in passport
    • Signed I-20 from American University
    • I-94 record of entry, which can be obtained from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website (include dependent's I-94, if applicable).
    • Proof of financial support (bank statement, scholarship letter, affidavit of support, etc.) dated within the past three months and an English translation, if needed.
    • Official admission letter from American University.

When you receive your Notice of Action Approval (I-797A) form with the change to F-1 status, please bring the Notice of Action Approval (I-797A) form and passport to ISSS to activate your F-1 SEVIS status.

H to F-1

You (or your primary H visa holder) must still be employed by the H-visa employer on the date that you file the change of status application. That is, your A visa status must not have expired at the time you apply for a change of status.

  1. Obtain an I-20 from American University.
  2. Pay the SEVIS fee online. Remember to print out payment receipt.
  3. Mail application to USCIS. Include the following documents:
    • Complete I-539 Application to Extend/Change Non-Immigrant Status
    • 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.
    • Original letter from the H-1B employer verifying that you (or your spouse/parent, if you are on H-4) are currently employed on the date you are submitting your application.
    • Copies of the following documents:
    • Biographic page of your passport with expiration date
    • Current US visa page in passport
    • Signed I-20 from American University
    • I-94 record of entry, which can be obtained from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website (include dependent's I-94, if applicable).
    • I-797 Notice of Action or approval notice of H visa status (if you are on H-4, your spouse/parent's H-1B approval notice).
    • Last 3 pay stubs issued by your H-visa employer (if you are on H-4, your spouse/parent's pay stubs).
    • Proof of financial support (bank statement, scholarship letter, affidavit of support, etc.) dated within the past three months and an English translation, if needed.
    • Official admission letter from American University.

When you receive your Notice of Action Approval (I-797A) form with the change to F-1 status, please bring the Notice of Action Approval (I-797A) form and passport to ISSS to activate your F-1 SEVIS status.

L to F-1

You (or your primary L visa holder) must still be employed by the L-visa employer on the date that you file the change of status application. That is, your L visa status must not have expired at the time you apply for a change of status.

  1. Obtain an I-20 from American University.
  2. Pay the SEVIS fee online. Remember to print out payment receipt.
  3. Mail application to USCIS. Include the following documents:
    • Complete I-539 Application to Extend/Change Non-Immigrant Status
    • 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.
    • Original letter from the L employer verifying that you (or your spouse/parent, if you are on L-2) are currently employed on the date you are submitting your application.
    • Copies of the following documents:
    • Biographic page of your passport with expiration date
    • Current US visa page in passport
    • Signed I-20 from American University
    • I-94 record of entry, which can be obtained from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website (include dependent's I-94, if applicable).
    • I-797 Notice of Action or approval notice of L visa status (if you are on L-2, your spouse/parent's L-1 approval notice).
    • Last 3 pay stubs issued by your L-visa employer (if you are on L-2, your spouse/parent's pay stubs).
    • Proof of financial support (bank statement, scholarship letter, affidavit of support, etc.) dated within the past three months and an English translation, if needed.
    • Official admission letter from American University.

When you receive your Notice of Action Approval (I-797A) form with the change to F-1 status, please bring the Notice of Action Approval (I-797A) form and passport to ISSS to activate your F-1 SEVIS status.