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Change Your Visa Status to F-1

Required (On Demand) Workshop
Change of Status Workshop by iss280

There are two ways for individuals currently in the United States (U.S.) with a valid nonimmigrant status to apply for a change of status to an 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 nonimmigrant 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.


ISSS recommends working with an experienced immigration attorney prior to and during the process of filing Form I-539 with USCIS. Please note that if you change your status in the United States, you will need to apply and obtain an 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.

Requesting the I-20
It is important that you evaluate your options before requesting the I-20 since the documents are different for each particular process. Contact an international student advisor in order to request an initial Entry Form I-20 from Marymount. The ISSS advisor will send you a link and instructions to access this ISSS portal. In order to request the I-20 follow the steps in the portal. Click on the change of status button, state if you will be changing your status in the US or by traveling abroad, answer the rest of the questions and be ready to upload scanned copies of the following documents:
  1. Copy of Passport ID page, current visa, and I-94 
  2. Admission Letter
  3. Financial documents showing sufficient funds to cover tuition and fees, living expenses, books, supplies and health expenses for one academic year
  4. Current students at MU should complete the last portion to request an academic advisor certification that will verify the numbers of credits left and estimated graduation time.
Once ALL the documents have been submitted, an ISSS advisor will issue an I-20 form within seven to ten business days

Next Steps
  1. Pay the SEVIS Fee (Form I-901) of $350 and print a receipt at
  2.  Schedule an appointment and apply for an F-1 at a U.S. Consulate abroad if you're traveling abroad or put the immigration application packet together with your lawyer to submit a change of status in the US.
  3. Keep ISSS updated during the process.
  4. Complete immigration check-in at the ISSS office as soon as you either get your new visa or get the change of status approved by 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

In order to start your request contact the ISSS at in order to receive an invitation to log in to the ISSS portal.