Change of Status to F1

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.


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).  Print out a copy of the receipt.

Step 3:

Schedule an appointment with the Change of Status 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). 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)