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Change Your Visa Status

You are required to change to an F1 student visa to join an academic program if you are currently in the United States on:

  • a B1/B2 visitor visa
  • WB/WT status
  • an F2 dependent visa (if interested in pursuing a full-time course of study)

You are not required to change to F1 status if you are in the United States on an H4 visa. Permanent immigrants, such as green card holders, may also study without changing visa status.

You are not allowed to change your status at all if you are on certain types of visa (Link will open in a new window). If you are uncertain, check this detailed chartListen (for non-immigrants only; link will open in a new window) or ask the International Admissions Office for help.

What do I need to know before I apply?

  • Although you may apply for a change of status while in the US, we strongly recommend that you apply from your home country due to strict immigration guidelines and extensive processing times.
  • If you arrived on a non-student visa, we recommend a 3 month waiting period before applying.
  • Change of status is adjudicated by USCIS, a division of U.S. Department of Homeland Security. TCC has no influence regarding approval or denial of your change of status. The final decision is solely at the discretion of the United States government.
  • Your current I-94 status must be valid and cannot be set to expire more than 30 days prior to the semester in which you will be applying to TCC.
  • We strongly advise you to contact an immigration attorney for additional information on changing your visa status while in the US. Not all visa types are eligible for a change of status. Remember that attorneys will charge fees for their help.
  • Other colleges and universities may have different change of status procedures.

How do I apply to change my visa?

  1. Apply to TCC and be accepted. We will issue an acceptance letter and I-20 form. Make sure TCC has your contact information, including a phone number, email address, and street address.
  2. Complete your checklist of documentsListen and submit them to the International Admissions Office staff (referred to as DSOs on Study in the States).
  3. Mail your documents to the appropriate USCIS facility and follow all rules for your current visa status.
    • If on a B1/B2 visitor visa, per USCIS regulations, you must maintain your status while your application for an F1 student visa is pending. Review USCIS Special Instructions to see if you will be required to request an extension of your B1/B2 status.

  4. Provide any additional information requested by the USCIS. If this happens, our office will contact you immediately. Failure to respond by the deadline will result in a denial of your application.

Once USCIS makes a decision on your change of status, our office will contact you.

  • If the application is approved, you will be required to sign up for new F1 student orientation for the upcoming term.
  • If your application is denied, USCIS decisions cannot be appealed, but you can talk to our staff and, if you choose, you can consult with immigration attorneys.

If your approval for change of status is received in time before the semester begins, the International Admissions Office will contact you to clear you to begin your studies for that semester.

However, if your change of status approval is not received in time or a decision has not been received from USCIS, the International Admissions Office will automatically defer your start date to the next available semester.

Updated October 09, 2017