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Change of Status from F-2 to F-1

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As an F-2 visa holder, you are not eligible to be a full-time student and you are not able to take courses on a part-time basis that can be applied toward a degree-granting program. Therefore, if you wish to study full time, you must apply for a change of status from F-2 to F-1. F-2 visa holders may not enroll in school after they have applied for change of status to F-1 while the application is pending. They may also not receive wages or compensation of any kind until the F-1 status is approved.

In order to change status while in the U.S. from a dependent (F-2) to a student (F-1) status you will need to be admitted to a full-time academic program at a school that can issue you a Form I-20. In addition, your F-1 spouse must be in the U.S. and in status when you are requesting this change.

Note: If you are traveling outside the U.S., you can accomplish the change of status upon re-entry if you take your Form I-20 and financial documents with you and obtain an F-1 Visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Upon obtaining the F-1 visa, you can enter the U.S. as an F-1 student.

Your request for change of status to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) should consist of the following:

  • Completed Form I-539 with the processing fee (check or money order made payable to Department of Homeland Security); for the most current fee information visit
  • Receipt for paying the SEVIS I-901 Fee
  • Original Form I-20 signed and dated
  • Original Form I-94 (you are very strongly encouraged to keep a copy of the front and back of the Form I-94)
  • Financial verification
  • Copies of your spouse's valid Immigration forms: I-94, I-20
  • Copies of the pages in each individual's passport that include biographical information, passport picture, and passport expiration
  • For further information please see instructions located in Form I-539.
  • Make an appointment at the Office of International Programs to review the above documents

Note: If you have been offered an assistantship, please include and highlight in your letter.