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International Students & Scholars

Change of Status

If you are currently in the U.S. in a non-immigrant status other than F-1 a student visa (such as H-4, A-1, G-1, L-2 or others), you may be able to study in your current status. Please consult with ISS if you have questions.

If you are currently in the U.S. in B-1 or B-1 status there is higher risk that your change of status application may NOT be approved.

You cannot apply for a change of status within the U.S. if one of the following is applicable to you:

  • You are currently in the US under the "visa waiver" program
  • You are currently in the US as a J-1 exchange visitor or a J-2 dependent and are subject to the 2-Year Home Residency Requirement
  • You are currently in the US, but are in violation of your current immigration status or you have exceeded your authorized legal stay in the US.

If none of the above is applicable to you and you decided to change your non-immigrant status to F-1, ISS will support you and provide a step-by-step guidance.
There are two ways tp change your status:

  • Travel outside of the US, get an F-1, and reenter using the new visa. This option would allow you to immediately have F-1 status when you reenter the US. You need to be a Pace full-time student and obtain an I-20 form. Obtain detailed information about I-20 requirements.
  • Apply for a change of status through the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) within the US and do not travel outside of the US again until your change of status application has been approved. This option can take five to six months to be approved.

If you chose the second option, you need to schedule an appointment with the ISS Director via email:

Please note that applying for a change of status in the U.S. leads ONLY to a change in your immigration status, not the visa stamp affixed in your passport. Once you are approved for a change of status, you must still obtain an F-1 visa through a U.S. Consulate abroad the next time you travel outside of the U.S. for the purpose of reentry.

Please read the Change of Status Guide and Checklist (PDF).