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:

  • Complete form I-539
  • Filing fee
  • Proof of identity
  • Proof of valid current non-immigrant status
  • Proof of eligibility for new status

Change of Status to an F-1 Student

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.

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.

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.)

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).

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.

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 an 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 COS 

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.