Status Change from F-2 to F-1

An F-2 spouse or F-2 child desiring to engage in full-time study, must apply for and obtain a change of non-immigrant classification to F-1 status. An F-2 spouse or an F-2 child violates his or her non-immigrant status by engaging in full-time study (214.2(f)(15)(ii).


A change in 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.

The Process:

To change from F-2 dependent 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 International Student Counselor, Meryll Pentz by calling 292-2230, and bring the following items to the appointment:

  1. Pay SEVIS I-901 Fee: Effective September 1, 2004, 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). SEVIS is a central computerized system that maintains and manages data concerning international students (F-1 status), exchange visitors (J-1 status), and their dependents (F-2 and J-2) during their stay in the United States.

    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.

    Payment of the fee is not required of F-1 and J-2 dependents.

    The fee can be paid by mail using Form I-901 together with a check or money order drawn on a US bank and payable in US dollars. Or the fee can be paid electronically by completing Form I-901 through the internet and using a Visa, Mastercard or American Express credit card.

    For more detailed information on this process, go to

  2. Fee of $370: check or money order made payable to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services; 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 your circumstances and plans.

  4. Completed Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. The International Students Counselor can help you with the items that you do not understand.
  5. Your Form I-20 (pages 1-3); be sure to sign on line 11.

  6. Photocopy of your spouse's I-20.

  7. Financial documentation- bank statements, affidavit of support if the money is coming from someone other than you.

  8. Make sure to bring your passport, F-2 Visa, and I-94 card- we will need to make copies of these to send with application