Status Change from B-2 to F-1

Change of Status: B-2 (visitor) to F-1 (student)

A B-2 visitor or B-2 prospective student is required to change his/her status in order to study full-time in the U.S. Full-time study and/or study in pursuit of a degree is prohibited by immigration prior to COS approval. The B-2 student must apply for change of status before the date stamped on their I-94 card.

*You only have to abide by this Change of Status Outline if you intend
to stay in the U.S through the start of the semester you are applying for.

*If your intention is to return to your home country and go through the embassy process prior to the start of your schooling here at MCC then these guidelines do not apply to you.

A change in status is not a change of visa!

A change of status is not a change of visa. You can only obtain a visa at the American embassy or consulate in your home country. If the USCIS approves your application, you may stay in the U.S. as long as you follow the F-1 rules. The next time you want to leave the country you will need obtain an F-1 visa from the embassy in your country in order to re-enter the United States.

Eligibility for Filing Change of Status

USCIS officers must determine eligibility for a change of status, which is a standard separate from whether or not a person qualifies for issuance of an I-20 and F-1 status itself. A prospective student could be generally eligible for issuance of an I-20, but if he/she is not eligible for a change of status, a change of status application will NOT BE APPROVED

  • B2 visitor visa holders have a designated amount of time that they are authorized to be in the country which is marked on their I-94 card. Generally B visa holders are given a stay of either 3 or 6 months.

  • Their I-94 card will be stamped B-2 until 05/25/2006 (e.g.)

  • They have to file prior to the date stamped & cannot be past that date upon arrival to the service center.

  • They also cannot have longer than a 30 day gap between statuses.
    (e.g. if Antonio came in on 5/01/2006 to COS to F1 he would be ineligible for COS b/c the next semester is longer than 30 days past his B-2 stay allowance.)

  • COS for B2 to F1 are difficult and there is a high incidence of denial.

The Process

To change from a nonimmigrant visa to F-1 student status you must be accepted to the college for a full-course of study, once you have been accepted you need to make an appointment with the Assistant Director, Meryll Pentz by calling 292-3172, and bring the following items to the appointment:

(1) SEVIS I-901 Fee: The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requires the collection of a one-time fee of $200 from new F-1 students. DHS will use the fee to help cover the operational costs of the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). 

The SEVIS fee must be paid and fully processed before filing the I-539 Change of Status Application and a copy of the payment receipt must be sent in with the application. Go to to pay the fee.

(2) Fee of $370: check or money order made payable to the Department of Homeland Security; write your admission number (the number on your I-94 and I-20), name (if not already printed on your check), and the type of application you are requesting on the face of the check or money order.

(3) A letter from you, requesting the change of status and explaining why you did not enter the US on an F-1 visa.

(4) Completed Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. The International Student Counselor can help you with the items that you do not

(5) Your Form I-20 (pages 1-3); be sure to sign on line 11.

(6) Financial documentation- bank statements, affidavit of support (Form I-134) if the money is coming from someone other than you.

(7) Make sure to bring your passport, current non-immigrant Visa, and I-94 card- we will need to make copies of these to send with application.