Change to F-1 Status Guide | Office of Global Education | Kent State University

If your original reason for coming to the United States changes, you may be required to change your nonimmigrant status to a different one before you lawfully begin to engage in the activities you want to pursue. See 8 CFR § 248.1(c).


A nonimmigrant is eligible to change to an F-1 status in the following circumstances:

  • I do not currently have a C, D, K, M, or S visa.
  • I am not in the United States under the visa waiver program.
  • If I am currently in J-1 status, I am not subject to a 2-year home country residency requirement.
To Apply
  • Schedule an appointment with an international student advisor. Be sure to bring:
  1. Completed Form I-539 found here (type answers and save as PDF)
  2. A credit card to pay I-901 fee (SEVIS fee) found here
  3. Current I-94 printout found here. If you entered the U.S. before May 2013, the card is likely stapled inside your passport
  4. Current, valid passport
  5. Current, valid visa stamp (inside passport, unless stamped in old passport)
  6. Evidence of financial support sufficient to meet expenses detailed on I-20
  7. Truthful written statement (type and save file to bring with you) to USCIS explaining why you want to become a student after arriving to the U.S. in another visa category and why you deserve a change of status. You must establish that your original intention for entering the U.S. was not to become a student.
  8. Check or money order (money order preferred) for $370 addressed to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security”
  9. Admission letter from Kent State University

NOTE:  If you are in any dependent status (F-2, J-2, or H-4) bring the principal visa holder’s immigration documents to your appointment in addition to the above-listed documentation.

Make an Appointment

You may print off this guide here: Change to F-1