Changing Your Visa Status

Sometimes individuals under other visa statuses need to request a change of visa status to F-1 because either their current status does not allow them to study or their current status will end before they complete their degree of studies. Please check the chart below for the most common visa types and eligibility for study in the US.

Types of Visas Eligible to Study in the U.S. 

Visa Eligible to study Enrollment requirement* Work Eligibility Additional requirements to change visa status
B1/B-2 No Avocational or recreational only No work permitted
F-2 Yes Part- time No work permitted
A1/A2 Yes Either full-time or part-time A-2 students may be able to work they complete an  Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to apply for work and will need to talk to the place of employment of whoever holds the A-1 visa the A-2 visa is attached to confirm that they have permission to work Diplomats seeking change of status to F-1 must submit 2 originals of Form I-566, Interagency Record of Request – Change to/from A, G or NATO Status directly to the Diplomatic Liaison Division or the U.S. Mission to the UN within 30 days after termination.
J-1 (Au Pair) Yes Part-time J-1 Au Pairs can work as live-in childcare providers in exchange for room, board, and pay, but cannot seek work beyond that.
J-1  Yes Full – time J-1 students can work for their sponsor on-campus. Most places will allow part-time work on-campus. 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.
H-4 Yes Either full-time or part-time You must have Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to work in the U.S.
G-5 Yes Either full-time or part-time G-5 students can only work under for the G-4 visa holder they came with.

*Full Time enrollment for undergraduates is 12 credits and 9 credits for graduate students.* 


  •  ISSS strongly recommends that students who are on B1/B2, F-2, and Au Pair visas to change their visa category by traveling out of the U.S. since it is hard to predict an approval from USCIS. If a student under any of the aforementioned visas is enrolled only part-time and gets an approval in the middle of the semester, it is not possible to add classes after the last day to add in order to comply immediately with the F-1 full time enrollment.
  • USCIS may take more than 12 months to review and adjudicate Change of Status applications. If at all possible, students are encouraged to consider traveling out of the U.S. to change their visa category through visa application at a U.S. embassy or consulate office.
  • If you choose to travel outside the U.S. while your application for Change of Status is pending with USCIS, your application will be considered abandoned.
  • Students who request to change their status in the U.S. and obtain F-1 status do not have an F-1 visa. Therefore, they must keep in mind that if they plan to travel out of the U.S. at a later time, they will still need to apply for an F-1 visa stamp at a U.S. Embassy or consulate office to be able to re-enter to the U.S.

Request a Change of Status to F-1

There are two distinct ways for individuals who are currently in the U.S. with a valid nonimmigrant status to apply for a change of status to an F-1 in order to pursue a full-time degree at Marymount University. To be eligible, you must first be admitted to and/or enrolled at Marymount University.

Please note that your current nonimmigrant status must be valid at the moment you submit your change of status application to USCIS until the date the F-1 status will begin.



Travel outside of the U.S. and applying for your F-1 visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate office is generally the fastest way to change status. We recommend researching current wait times and visa information on the Department of State website and consulting a qualified immigration attorney with specific questions about your situation.



ISSS recommends working with an immigration attorney prior to and during the process of filing Form I-539 with USCIS. Please note that if you change your status while remaining in the U.S., you will need to apply for and obtain an F-1 visa the next time you travel outside of the U.S. before you may re-enter the U.S. in F-1 status.

You may be eligible to submit a Change of Status application to USCIS while remaining in the U.S. if the following conditions are met:

  • Your current, valid nonimmigrant status allows full-time study in the U.S.
  • Your authorized period of stay has not expired and will not expire more than 30 days before your planned Marymount program start date for your F-1 status
  • You do not have previous violations of legal status
  • Your current legal status does not prohibit a Change of Status through USCIS.



It is important that you evaluate your options before requesting the I-20 since the documents are different depending on the process you decide to follow. A Change of Status process requires issuance of a Change of Status I-20. The F-1 visa application at a U.S. embassy or consulate process requires issuance of an Initial I-20.

1. To begin, email to inform us of your plans and to request an invitation to log in to the ISSS portal.
2. ISSS will send you a link and instructions to access the ISSS portal. Log in to the ISSS portal using your MU credentials and follow the steps on the numbered tabs across the top of the portal screen.

  • Click on Tab 2 and select the Change of Status button, select how you plan to change your status (by remaining within the U.S. or by traveling out of the U.S.). Answer all questions on the form.
  • Complete the personal information questions on Tab 3.
  • Go to Tab 4 to provide required financial information, including a completed Declaration of Finances form and proof of funding documentation. See information about cost of attendance here.
  • In addition, upload copies of the following: valid passport identification/photo page, current visa, most recent I-94, new students must provide Marymount admission letter (current students provide evidence of current enrollment or continuous registration).
    • Note: current Marymount students need to complete the last portion of the online form to request academic advisor verification of the number of credits remaining and estimated graduation date.

3. Once ALL of the required documents have been submitted, allow up to 10 business days for an ISSS advisor to review your request. If we have questions or need more information, we will contact you through your Marymount student email address.


  • Pay the SEVIS Fee (Form I-901) of $350 and print a receipt at
  • Schedule an appointment and apply for an F-1 visa at a U.S. Embassy or consulate office if traveling out of the U.S. or put the Change of Status application packet together with your immigration attorney to submit to USCIS.
  • Keep ISSS updated during the process. If students are applying for Change of Status in the U.S., they should contact the ISSS advisor monthly to provide an update. 
  • Once you obtain your F-1 visa from a U.S. embassy or consulate office or received your Change of Status to F-1 approval from USCIS, complete immigration check-in at the ISSS portal.

Disclaimer: ISSS provides general information based on SEVP regulations. Guidance given by ISSS staff, including information on our website, in workshops, via flyers/handouts, and on request forms should not be construed as legal advice. USCIS may change its interpretation of U.S. immigration laws and the eligibility requirements for such benefits at any time. Each person’s situation is unique. ISSS strongly recommends that you contact a qualified immigration attorney if you have questions or concerns specific to your circumstances.