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International Student Center
Apply for a Change of Non-immigrant Status with USCIS

Now that you have been accepted to College of San Mateo, you will need to apply to change your visa from your current visa type to an F-1 student visa.

There are a few things to be aware of:

USCIS takes approximately 3-6 months to review a change of status application.

There is no guarantee that your application will be approved. If your application is denied, you must leave the U.S. when your current status expires. If your current status expired before submitting your change of status then you will have to prepare to leave the U.S. immediately. You can stay in the U.S. if your visa status expires while your submitted application is pending.

If you are changing from a tourist visa, you cannot start studying until your application is approved. If you are changing from a J-1 visa to an F-1 visa you may start studying before you submit your application and while it is pending.

Do not leave the U.S. while your application to USCIS is pending because your application will automatically be denied. You will not be able to re-enter the U.S. on F-1 status unless you obtain a new I-20 from our office and apply for an F-1 visa stamp at a U.S. embassy/consulate in your home country.

For J-1 visa types: If you are subject to the 212(e) two-year foreign residency requirement, you can’t change your status from within the U.S. The following application and supporting documents are needed to apply for your change of status:
  • Form I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status
  • Form I-539 fee: Check or money order payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • Original I-20 from College of San Mateo
  • Acceptance letter from College of San Mateo
  • Letter explaining your intent to study and gain practical training experience in the U.S. and how it will help you when you return to your country to pursue professional goals
  • Proof of financial support for the first year of studies
  • SEVIS Fee payment receipt (go to www.fmjfee.com to pay the SEVIS fee and print receipt; keep a copy of the receipt for your records)
  • Original I-94 card (back and front)
  • Copies of your current passport, visa, I-20 and/or DS-2019 (If you are a dependent, copies of the principle visa holder’s passport, visa and I-94 card)
  • Optional: Form G-1145, E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance; I-134 Affidavit of Support
Mail application and all supporting documents to:
USCIS Dallas Lockbox P.O. Box Dallas, TX 75266

We advise you make copies of all papers submitted before mailing the application.

USCIS has launched an online filing service called ELIS. Instead of mailing in your documents to Texas, you can electronically file the Form I-539 and upload supporting documents. Electronically filed applications on ELIS have a faster processing time.