Within the U.S.

Submit a change of status (COS) application to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) while remaining in the U.S. The USCIS reviews applications for changes of status based on the applicant's ability to document and justify a change of primary purpose for being in the U.S. since last arrival.
You must be in lawful non-immigrant status to be granted a change to a different status. USCIS must receive your COS application while your current status is still valid, and you may remain in the U.S while your application is pending. You will have officially exited your current status on the date noted on USCIS approval notice. If you are in the United States unlawfully or have overstayed your current status, you are ineligible to apply for a change of status from within the Unites States.
USCIS requires the following to apply for a COS:

 

 
 

Steps for filing a change of status (COS) application to F1 Student Status

You must decide which semester you wish to begin your F-1 program. Be aware that applying for a change of status (COS) may take many months for processing. If you wish to be changed to F-1 in less time, you must exit the U.S., apply for an F-1 visa abroad and return in F1 Status. If this is what you decide to do, please let us know BEFORE we issue your I-20. The I-20 issued to apply for a change of status while remaining in the U.S. is different from the one issued to apply for the F-1 visa abroad.

Once your F1 status is approved, you must enroll as a full-time student. As an F1 student, you are allowed to work no more than 20 hours per week while classes are in session. Your employment can begin no earlier than 30 days prior to the first day of classes.

STEP 1:

Request Form I-20 Certificate of Eligibility: You must be officially admitted to a program of study . Submit the following to the COS adviser at the International Services (IS) office:

  • Admission letter; official evidence of your admission to LSU.
  • Specific details of your financial ability to pay for this program of study. This can be bank statements (at least a 3 month history), a copy of assistantship letter, completed Affidavit of Support form, etc., or a combination of different sources.
  • Copies of your documents: Passport biographical page, I-94 document, visa, USCIS approval notices, others as applicable.
  • Your address in your country of citizenship or last residence.

Allow at least five (5) working days for us to produce this form I-20 for you. You will need your I-20 to pay the SEVIS fee.

 

STEP 2:

Pay the SEVIS fee: Once you have your I-20 you must pay the $200 SEVIS fee (Form I-901). Visit the following web sites for information on this procedure: www.FMJfee.com or http://www.ice.gov/sevis/i901/index.htm. Print out a copy of the receipt.

 

STEP 3:

Schedule an appointment with the COS adviser at International Services (IS) by calling (225)578-3191, and bring the following with you when you come to your appointment:

  • Completed I-539 (Application to Extend/Change Non-immigrant Status). The form is available at www.uscis.gov/files/form/i-539.pdf. Answers must be typed.
  • Your new original change of status I-20
  • Valid Passport, I-94 document and SEVIS fee receipt
  • LSU official admission letter
  • Letter addressed to USCIS Adjudicator:       With an explanation of your current status and requesting the change to F1. You are expected to provide relevant information concerning your immigration status. (Example: if this is not the first time you are applying for a COS, summarize all your previous changes).
  • Processing Fee: US Immigration Services requires a processing fee of $290. Check or money order should be made payable to US Department of Homeland Security. No cash or temporary checks are accepted. If filing electronically, a credit card will be required.
  • Additional required documentation according to your current status (see next – Step 4)

Additional documents required according to specific status:

 

Changing from F2 to F1:

An F-2 dependent may not engage in full-time study until the change of status from F-2 to F-1 has been approved and the official documents received by the IS. The following are required to apply:

  • Proof of your current F2 status: Copies of F-2 I-20s, I-94, F2 visa and/or COS approval notice.
  • Proof of identity and valid non-immigrant status of the F1 principal status holder- your spouse/parent-: Copies of passport, I-94, visa, I-20’s, USCIS approval notices, etc.
  • Proof of relationship with the F1 principal status holder- your spouse/parent-: Copy of birth/marriage certificate and if not in English, a simple translation must be provided.

 

Changing from H4 to F1:

An H-4 dependent can enroll in a degree program or may change to F-1 student status in order to pursue a full course of study leading to a degree. Most H-4 dependents must change to F-1 status in order to accept employment, including assistantship duties, except those in possession of an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and pending adjudication for permanent residence. The following are required to apply:

Proof of your current H4 status:

  • Proof of identity and valid non-immigrant status of the H1B principal status holder- your spouse/parent-: Copies of passport, I-94, visa, USCIS approval notices, current employment letter, latest 3 monthly pay stubs, etc.
  • Proof of relationship with the H1B principal status holder- your spouse/parent-: Copy of birth/marriage certificate and if not in English, a simple translation must be provided.

 

Changing from H1B to F1:

An H-1B may change to F-1 student status in order to pursue a full course of study leading to a degree. An H-1B must change to F-1 status in order to accept assistantship duties or seek employment as an LSU student. The following are required to apply:

  • Proof of valid H1B status: Current employment letter and copy of latest 3 monthly pay stubs.
  • Copy of USCIS approval notice (if changed status to H-1B while in the U.S.)

 

Changing from J1 to F1:

You cannot accept any kind of student employment until your status has been officially changed to F-1 and it has been reported to the IS. The following are required to apply:

  • Copies of your DS-2019 forms
  • 2-year home residency requirement waiver approval from USCIS or waiver recommendation from Department of State (if you are subject to 2-year home residency requirement).

 

Changing from E2 to F1:

An E-2 dependent can enroll in a degree program or may change to F-1 student status in order to pursue a full course of study leading to a degree. An E-2 dependent is eligible to apply to USCIS for unrestricted employment authorization, including assistantship duties. The following are required to apply:

  • Proof of your current E2 status:
  • Proof of identity and valid non-immigrant status of the E1 principal status holder- your spouse/parent-: Copies of passport, visa, I-94, USCIS approval notices, business licenses, financial activity, pay stubs, etc. (as applicable)
  • Proof of relationship with the E1 principal status holder- your spouse/parent-: Copy of birth/marriage certificate and if not in English, a simple translation must be provided.

 

Changing from L2 to F1:

An L-2 dependent can enroll in a degree program or may change to F-1 student status in order to pursue a full course of study leading to a degree. An L-2 dependent is eligible to apply to USCIS for unrestricted employment authorization, including assistantship duties. The following are required to apply:

  • Proof of your current L2 status: Copies of your Visa, I-94, USCIS approval notices, etc.
  • Proof of identity and valid non-immigrant status of the L1 principal status holder- your spouse/parent-: Copies of passport, I-94, visa, USCIS approval notices, current employment letter, latest 3 monthly pay stubs, etc.
  • Proof of relationship with the F1 principal status holder- your spouse/parent-: Copy of birth/marriage certificate and if not in English, a simple translation must be provided.
 

Change of Status to F-2 Dependent

Your F-1 spouse must be an LSU student for IS assistance. USCIS Service Center must receive the application for change of status before the current status ends. Applicants may lawfully remain in the U.S. while the COS application is pending. F-2 dependents are not allowed to enroll for classes or accept employment of any kind. If you cannot apply for the change of status to F-2 before your current status ends, or if you wish to be changed to F-2 in less time, you must exit the U.S., apply for an F-2 visa stamp, and re-enter the US in F2 status.

STEP 1:

Your spouse must request the F2 I-20 for you. They should complete a Green Sheet Request Form at the Front Desk and attach the items below:

  • Specific details of their financial ability to support you as an F-2. This can be a bank statement, proof of any financial aid including graduate assistantship information, a completed Affidavit of Support form, etc., or a combination of different sources.
  • Their most current LSU I-20.

Once you have collected the F2 I-20, schedule a one hour appointment with the COS adviser at IS by calling (225)578-3191.

 

STEP 2:

Bring the following documentation with you when you come to your appointment:

  • Completed I-539 (Application to Extend/Change Non-immigrant Status). The form is available at http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/i-539.pdf. Answers must be typed.
  • Proof of your current non-immigrant status: Visa, I-94 document, USCIS approval notices
  • Employment/business documentation, latest 3 monthly paystubs or other proof of income, previous I-20’s, valid passport, etc. (as applicable). If you have dependents that will also need to change status to F-2, include copies of the same documents.
  • Original F-2 I-20 (signed and dated by your spouse).
  • Proof of identity and valid non-immigrant status of the F1 principal status holder: Copies of passport, I-94, visa, I-20’s, USCIS approval notices, etc.
  • Proof of your relationship with of the F1 principal status holder: Copy of marriage certificate and if not in English, a simple translation must be provided.
  • Proof of finances: Bank letter/statements, proof of any financial aid including graduate assistantship information, a completed Affidavit of Support form, etc., or a combination of different sources.
  • Letter addressed to USCIS Adjudicator: With an explanation of your current status and requesting a change to F2. Explain why you wish to change and provide any other relevant information concerning your immigration status. (If this is not the first time you are applying for a change of status, summarize all your previous changes).
  • Processing Fee. The Immigration Service requires a processing fee of $290.00. Personal check or money order should be made payable to “US Department of Homeland Security”. No cash or temporary checks are accepted. If filing electronically, a credit card will be required.
 

How to file a COS application

The COS adviser will review your application and supporting documents before it is mailed to the Immigration Office for processing. Application processing times vary and may be rather long; for current processing times see https://egov.uscis.gov/cris/jsps/index.jsp . USCIS will issue a Receipt Notice acknowledging that your application has been received. Using your receipt number you will be able to check the status of your application on line at http://egov.uscis.gov/casestatus/landing.do . We will notify you by e-mail when the approval notice (Form I-797) is received by our office.

You will not receive a new entry visa stamp with your change of status approval. If you travel outside of the U.S. after your change of status approval, you will have to apply for a new visa stamp while abroad to be able to return to the U.S. in your new non-immigrant status.