Change of Status

From F-1 / J-1 Status to Another Visa Status

A United States non-immigrant visa holder may apply for a different non-immigrant visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Authority to grant such a visa lies within the discretionary power of the consular officer.

 

F-1 Students

If you hold F-1 status you are eligible to change status in the U.S. to any other immigration status for which you qualify. Students in F-1 status are considered to be in status for 60 days after completion of a program or study or Optional Practical Training, and may apply for a change of status during the 60 day grace period. If your change of status cannot be approved before the end of your authorized F-1 program, including the grace period, you will not be able to apply for a change of status in the U.S.

 

J-1 Visa Holders

If your status is J-1, your eligibility to change to another nonimmigrant status may be limited. If you are subject to the J-1 two-year home residency requirement, you are eligible to change only to A (diplomatic or government official) or G (international organization) status, provided that you are accredited by the foreign government or international organization to the Department of State.

If you did not come to the United States to receive graduate medical education or training, are not subject to the J-1 two-year home country residency requirement, or have had the requirement waived, you may apply for a change to any other nonimmigrant status for which you are qualified. 

Persons in J-1 or J-2 status are considered to be in-status for 30 days after completion of program or after completion of academic training, and may apply for a change of status during their 30 day grace period. If your change of status cannot be approved before the end of your authorized Exchange Visitor Program, including the grace period, you will not be able to apply for a change of status in the U.S.

 

From Another Status to F-1 / J-1

The following visa statuses may not change their visa status under any circumstances:

  • C
  • D
  • J - subject to rule 212.e
  • K
  • Visa Waiver Program

If you are currently hold any other non-immigrant status, you may have the ability to change your status to F-1 within the United States. To be eligible to change status in the U.S., your current status must not expire until at least 30 days prior to start date of classes for the semester you will begin your studies.

In the current immigration environment, changes of status are taking up to 9 months or more to be adjudicated. We highly recommend that you travel home to apply for an F-1 visa rather than apply for a change of status in the United States.

 

Applying for a Change of Status

Changing status to F-1 student is a cooperative effort between you, UC International Services and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Once you are admitted to UC, you should review our application instructions.

Once all the application materials are complete/obtained, submit the "Change of Status to F-1" eForm in iBearcatsGlobal.

 

From F-1 to F-2

An F-1 student can become an F-2 student if they marry another person holding an F-1 visa status. An F-1 student currently studying in the U.S. may change immigration status to F-2 (dependent of an F-1) provided that:

  • The F-1 who wishes to change to F-2 status is currently maintaining proper F-1 status.
  • The F-1 spouse for whom the student will be an F-2 dependent is currently maintaining F-1 status and can prove that he or she has the finances necessary to support the F-2. At the University of Cincinnati, we require $4,000 in additional support for an F-2 spouse.

 

Required Documents

Students (the F-1 and/or prospective F-2) who are enrolled at the University of Cincinnati should schedule an appointment with an advisor at UC International Services. We will review all documents to ensure that the petition is in proper order. To schedule an appointment, please call 513-556-4278.

To change status from F-1 to F-2, the following documents will be required:

  1. A completed I-539 change of status application form. Print and fill out the form.
  2. A completed I-539A Supplement for the applicant and each accompanying dependent.
  3. A fee payable to the Department of Homeland Security for $370 plus $85 for the applicant and each accompanying dependent. You can pay with a check or money order payable to the Department of Homeland Security, or a completed Form G-1450 - Authorization for Credit Card Transactions.
  4. An I-20 issued for the F-2 Dependent (this will be made during the appointment).
  5. Copies of passport, visa, I-94 card (front and back) or electronic I-94 and all I-20's for the F-1 wishing to change to F-2 status.
  6. Copies of passport, visa, I-94 card (front and back) or electronic I-94 and all I-20's for the F-1 who will support the prospective F-2.
  7. Proof of marriage of the F-1 and prospective F-2.
  8. Proof of financial support for the F-1 and F-2.

Once the I-539 form is filed with USCIS, every change of status applicant and accompanying dependent must attend a biometric services (fingerprinting) appointment. The appointment will be scheduled at the Application Support Center (ASC) closest to the applicant’s address. Each applicant and accompanying dependent must also sign a separate Form I-539A.

 

From J-1 to J-2

The DOS and USCIS generally do not look favorably on a request by a J-1 exchange visitor to change to J-2 dependent status, since the J-1 exchange visitor is expected to return home immediately upon completion of the exchange visitor program in the United States. Such requests usually are either denied or referred to the DOS.

Any other nonimmigrant who wishes to request a change of status to J-2 should schedule an appointment with UC International Services. We will review all documents to ensure that the petition is in proper order. To schedule an appointment, please call 513-556-4278.

To change status to J-2 the following documents will be required:

  1. A completed I-539 change of status application form. Print and complete the form and bring it to us to review.
  2. A completed I-539A Supplement for the applicant and each accompanying dependent.
  3. A fee payable to the Department of Homeland Security for $370 plus $85 for the applicant and each accompanying dependent. You can pay with a check or money order payable to the Department of Homeland Security, or a completed Form G-1450 - Authorization for Credit Card Transactions.
  4. A DS-2019 issued for the J-2 Dependent (this will be made during the appointment).
  5. Copies of passport, visa, I-94 card (front and back) or electronic I-94 and all certificates of eligibility or I-797 approval notices issued to the prospective J-2 beneficiary.
  6. Copies of passport, visa, I-94 card (front and back) or electronic I-94 and all DS-2019's for the J-1 who will support the prospective J-2.
  7. Proof of marriage of the J-1 and prospective J-2.
  8. Proof of financial support for the J-1 and J-2.

Once the I-539 form is filed with USCIS, every change of status applicant and accompanying dependent must attend a biometric services (fingerprinting) appointment. The appointment will be scheduled at the Application Support Center (ASC) closest to the applicant’s address. Each applicant and accompanying dependent must also sign a separate Form I-539A.