If you want to change the purpose of your visit while in the United States, you (or in some cases your employer) must file a request with USCIS with the appropriate form before your authorized stay expires. For instance, if you arrived here as a tourist but want to become a student, you must submit an application to change your status. We recommend that you apply as soon as you determine that you need to change to a different non-immigrant category.
Until you receive approval from USCIS, do not assume the status has been approved, and do not change your activity in the United States. For example, if you are currently a non-immigrant tourist, do not begin attending school as a student until you have received authorization from USCIS to change your status. If you fail to maintain your non-immigrant status, you may be barred from returning to and/or removed (deported) from the United States. Your authorized status and the date your status expires can be found in the lower right-hand corner of your Form I-94, Arrival-Departure Record.
In general, you may apply to change your non-immigrant status if you were lawfully admitted to the United States with a non-immigrant visa, your non-immigrant status remains valid, you have not violated the conditions of your status, and you have not committed any crimes that would make you ineligible.
You do not need to apply to change your non-immigrant status if you were admitted into the United States for business reasons (B-1 visa category ) and you wish to remain in the United States for pleasure before your authorized stay expires.
You do not need to apply to change your non-immigrant status if you wish to attend school in the United States, and you are the spouse or child of someone who is currently in the United States with a non-immigrant visa.Procedure to Change to F-1 Student Status
Overview: F-1 student status is appropriate if you intend to study full time in the United States. If you are currently in the United States as a temporary worker, diplomat, exchange visitor or any other non-immigrant classification EXCEPT a visitor in WT or WB status, and would like to change to F-1 student status, follow the procedures indicated below.
Eligibility: In general, non-immigrants who are maintaining lawful status may apply for change of status to F-1.
Exceptions: Non-immigrants subject to the Section 212 (e) two -year home residency requirement are ineligible to apply. Those in WT or WB are also ineligible. Those in F-2, B-1 or B-2 status are eligible to apply for change of status but cannot enroll in classes until the change of status has been approved by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).Procedure
In order to qualify for F-1 student status, you must be enrolled in a full-time program of study at Tampa Language Center and obtain an I-20 Form. To obtain an I-20, the following conditions must be met:
1. Submit a completed application form
(click to download).
2. Submit financial documentation showing funds for you and any accompanying dependents that will be in F-2 status. The documents should show that you have sufficient funds to cover tuition, materials and living expenses for the length of your training program.
3. Submit a copy of the first page of your valid passport, and a copy of your current visa.
4. Pay the application fee of $100 (nonrefundable)
Once the above documents have been submitted, the office will prepare an I-20 form for you within 5 business days.
Once you have obtained an I-20 from Tampa Language Center, you must change to an F-1 status either by travel or by application to the Department of Homeland Security.Change by travel
You may change your status by departing the United States and re-entering in F-1 status. In order to re-enter the United States in F-1 status, you must have a valid, F-1 entry visa.
-If you were previously in lawful F-1 status at another school in the United States, have a valid F-1 entry visa, and have not been out of U.S. for more than 5 months, you may continue to use that visa, even if it was issued for your previous school.
-If you have been out of the U.S. for more than 5 months, you will need to apply for a new F-1 visa, even if your current one has not expired.
-If you have an F-1 entry visa that was cancelled by a consular office, you must apply for a new F-1 entry visa as described below.
-If you do not have an F-1 entry visa or you need a new one, you must apply for one at a U.S. Consulate. Once you have obtained an F-1 entry visa, you may then enter the United States with your visa and the following:
*Your I-20 form from the Tampa Language Center
*Supporting documents, such as copies of your admission letter and your financial documentation
When you are at a port of entry, you will request F-1 status by presenting your passport, open to the F-1 visa page, and the I-20. If all is in order, the immigration inspector will admit you into F-1 status by stamping I-94 "F-1 D/S".Change by application to the USCIS
You may also attempt to change your status by submitting a change of status application to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Your application for change of status must be received by USCIS no more than 30 days before or after the start date on your I-20. Following are the documents that will be needed to apply:
1. A completed I-539
2. Photocopies of I-94 stamp (Arrival/Departure Record) listing your status and the day you must depart the United States. If the USCIS denies your application, be prepared to leave the United States when your current status expires.
3. Your new original I-20 form from Tampa Language Center, signed on the bottom of page 1.
4. Copies of financial documents.
5. Photocopy of your passport identification page- do not send your passport to the USCIS.
6. A bank check, money order, or personal check payable to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for the required $370 fee. The USCIS does not accept cash. This fee includes any dependents that are changing status with you. Proof of SEVIS fee payment of $200. This fee can be paid on-line by completing Form I-901 at https://www.fmjfee.com
7. A letter explaining why you are requesting the change of status. This is extremely important! Your letter should clearly explain your current status, your plans to study at Tampa Language Center, and your long-term plans as well. Keep in mind that F-1 status is a NON-IMMIGRANT classification. This means that you must indicate, and in certain cases, may be required to document that you continue to maintain ties to your home country-whether in the form of residence, an expected job offer, or continuing family ties. It is not unusual for the USCIS to request documentation regarding your ties to your home country, but you should be prepared to provide such documentation. Your letter must include the following information if your are requesting a change of status:H-1-
Dates of employment under H-1 and the date of registration at the Tampa language Center. A copy of the I-797, your 3 most recent pay stubs, and other documentation establishing that you were in and maintained valid H-1 status. The USCIS must receive your change of status application no later than the day you terminate your H-1 employer.H-1 or L-1-
You must give your dates of employment under H-1 or L-1 and request the date on which you want the F-1 status to be effective. For example, if your last day of employment is August 25, you should request that your F-1 status be effective on August 26. Be aware that the F-1 effective date MUST be within 30 days of the program start date in item 5 on your I-20. If you plan to leave your employment more than 30 days before the program start date, you must depart the U.S. and apply for an F-1 entry visa at a U.S. Consulate.
Any request for an effective date for F-1 status must be prominently stated in your letter of explanation for the change of status; you may also annotate the I-539 with your effective date request by clearly printing "Effective [date]" in Part 2. Application Type 1.b. under "The new status I am requesting is : ______
"Also include a copy of the I-797, your 3 most recent pay stubs, and other documentation establishing that you were in and maintained valid H-1 or L-1 status. The USCIS must receive your change of status application no later than the day you terminate your H-1 or L-1 employment as there is no grace period.