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Change of Status from B-1/B-2 to F-1

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How does the USCIS view changes of status from B-1/B-2 to F-1?

Applications for change of status from B-1/B-2 to F-1 made shortly after arrival arouse suspicion that the individual purposely misrepresented his/her intentions in order to obtain a U.S. visa and enter the U.S.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) routinely denies applications for changes of status for tourists who have already applied to schools in the U.S., who carry school records with them or who enter into contact with American universities before, or shortly after, entry to the U.S.

Am I eligible to apply for a change of status from B-1/B-2 to F-1?

To be eligible for a change of status to F-1, you must first have been admitted to a degree program at ESU, and have received a "change of status" SEVIS I-20 from the Office of International Programs.

How do I apply for a change of status from B-1/B-2 to F-1?

First – You must pay the SEVIS fee. A copy of your SEVIS fee receipt verifying that you have paid the SEVIS fee must be included with your change of status application.

Next – Submit the following to the USCIS

  • Application fee. This should be a check payable to "USCIS". Write your 11- digit "admission number" from your I-94 card on the front of the check.
  • A cover letter from you addressed to the USCIS, requesting a change of status from B-1/B-2 to F-1, and explaining your circumstances. Include why you entered the U.S. as a B-1/B-2 Tourist, why and how your intentions changed after arrival in the U.S. and any other information relevant to your reasons for wanting to study in the U.S.
  • Form I-539: "Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status"
  • A copy of your SEVIS fee receipt verifying that you have paid the SEVIS fee.
  • Your original SEVIS I-20 from ESU. (Please sign Item #11 on page 1)
  • Photocopies of the financial documentation you submitted to ESU for your I-20
  • Photocopy of the front and back of your I-94 card with a legible date stamp
  • Photocopy of your passport biographic data / picture page
  • Photocopy of your U.S. visa stamp
  • We recommend that you visit the Office of International Programs to review your completed application before submitting it to the USCIS.

Where do I send my application?

Mail your completed application to the Dallas Lockbox. We recommend using a reliable, express mail/courier service.

For express courier deliveries (e.g. UPS, Fed Ex) use the following address:

USCIS
ATTN: I-539
2501 S. State Highway 121
Business Suite 400 Lewisville, TX 75067

For regular U.S. Mail use the following address:

USCIS
P.O. Box 660166
Dallas, TX 75266

Please make a photocopy of your entire application and supporting documents for your files before sending them to the USCIS.

How long will processing at the USCIS take?

Estimated processing time will be from 2 – 6 months. When you receive a response from the USCIS, please report the outcome to the International Student and Scholar Services office. Send or bring a photocopy of your I-20 and I-94 to Office of International Programs.

Can I begin attending classes after I've submitted my application to the USCIS and while I'm awaiting a response?

You may not begin attending classes as a B-1/B-2 tourist. You must wait until you have received approval for the change of status to F-1 student from the USCIS before you register and attend classes at ESU.