Changing Visa Status

Change of Visa Status to F-1


There are two ways for individuals currently in the United States (U.S.) with a valid non immigrant status to apply for a change of status to F-1 visa in order to pursue a full-time degree at Marymount University. To be eligible you must be admitted to and/or enrolled at Marymount University.

Please note that your current non immigrant status must be valid up until the date the F-1status is requested to begin. There is a chance that your application may be denied by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) if they determine that the change of status would be approved more than 30 days in advance of your program start date.


Travel is generally the fastest way to change status. We recommend researching current wait times and visa information on the Department of State website and consult a qualified immigration attorney with specific questions about your situation.
If you decide to travel abroad to obtain an F-1 visas, make an appointment with an international student advisor in order to request an initial Entry Form I-20 from Marymount. Bring ALL the following documents

Once ALL the documents have been submitted, an ISSS advisor will issue an I-20 form within three to five business.

  •  Schedule an appointment and apply for an F-1 at a U.S. Consulate abroad
  • Reenter the United States with the F-1
  • Complete immigration check-in at the ISSS office within the first two weeks of classes.


ISSS recommends working with an experienced immigration attorney prior and during the process of filing the Form I-539 with USCIS. Please note that if you change your status in the United States, you will need to apply and obtain and F-1 visa the next time you travel outside of the U.S. to be able to return to the U.S. in F-1 status. 
You may be eligible to submit an application to USCIS to change status while remaining in the United States if the following eligibility requirements are met[1]:

  • You are maintaining your current nonimmigrant status
  • Your current period of authorized stay has not expired and will not expire more than 30 days prior to your Marymount program start date
  • You have no previous violations of status
  • Your current status does not prohibit a change of status application through USCIS*


  • Individuals admitted under the visa waiver program cannot change to F-1 or J-1 status.
  • Vocational students in M status cannot change to F-1 or J-1 status.
  • Individuals subject to the 212(e) Exchange Visitor Two-Year Home-Country Physical Presence Requirement must first obtain a waiver to submit a change of status application to USCIS.
  • Individuals in F-2 status are prohibited from studying full time before USCIS approves the change of status to F-1 or J-1 status.
  • Individuals admitted to the United States in tourist status or any status that prohibits study cannot legally begin an academic program before USCIS approves the change of status to F-1

We want to alert you that USCIS currently is taking a very long time to review and adjudicate cases. If you choose to travel outside the U.S. while your application is pending, the application will be considered abandoned.

  • To request a Change of status Form I-20 to apply to USCIS to change status, please make an appointment with an international student advisor. Bring ALL the following documents:
    • Copy of Passport ID page, current visa and I-94 (
    • Admission Letter.
    • Current students should submit an Advisor Certification Form and proof of registration for the following semester.
    • Financial documents showing sufficient funds to cover tuition and fees, living expenses, books, supplies and health expenses for one academic year.
    • Complete the ISSI (International Student Supplemental Information) form from Admissions
    • If you are a dependent of another visa holder, submit evidence that you will retain existing status for at least six months into the future in order to obtain the change of status Form I-20s from Marymount

Once ALL the documents have been submitted, an ISSS advisor will issue an I-20 form within three to five business.

  • Pay the SEVIS Fee (Form I-901) of $200 and print a receipt at
  • Consult with an experienced immigration attorney to prepare and mails your application packet to USCIS.

Disclaimer: International Student advisors are able to provide you with general guidance based on SEVP regulations.  However, any advice provided to you by our office, as well as the information on the ISSS webpages, handouts and request forms, should not be construed as legal advice. Additionally, due to the fluid nature of governmental interpretation, USCIS may change its interpretation of these immigration laws/regulations and eligibility requirements for benefits, at any time.  We will do our best to provide you with the most current guidance.  Each case is fact-specific and we strongly recommend that you contact an experienced immigration attorney if you have questions regarding your situation [2]

  •    Change of Visa Status to F-1 handout.
[1] Courtesy of Georgetown Office of Global Services handouts.
[2] Text from University of Colorado, Colorado Springs