International Student Services

Change to F-1 Status

After entering the U.S., there are two methods to change from one visa status to another:

  • Leave the U.S., apply at a U.S. consulate or embassy for a new visa and re-enter the U.S. in F-1 status.
  • Remain in the U.S. and apply by mail to USCIS for a change of status.

Once approved for F-1 status, you become eligible for F-1 status benefits including Off-Campus Employment

Eligibility

  • You must be admitted to a degree-seeking program with UT Dallas.
  • You must be prepared to be full-time enrolled at UT Dallas for each fall and spring semester of F-1 status.
  • You must hold a non-immigrant status other than C, D, K, M, WT /WB visitor or 212(e) subject J-1.
  • You must be in a current, valid non-immigrant status.

Advising Resources

Application Process for Your UT Dallas I-20

To be eligible for a UT Dallas Change of Status  I-20:

ISSO processing time is 5 business days once all the required documents are submitted.

You will receive an email at your UT Dallas email when the completed documents are ready for pickup.

  • If you are leaving the U.S. for the change, you will receive an Initial Form I-20 to take to the U.S. consulate.
  • If you are remaining in the U.S., you will receive a Form I-20 for a Change of Status by petition, assembly and mailing instructions.

Waiting Times

  • The waiting times for visa appointments vary from country to country. Check the website of the U.S. consulate you will visit for specifics.
  • USCIS processing times vary each semester. You should expect at least 2 – 4 months.
  • Students in non-study categories, such as F-2 or B-2, should not enroll until they receive written approval of the change to F-1 status.
  • Students in non-work categories, such as H-4, must wait until receiving written approval of the change to F-1 status before beginning on-campus employment.

Register for International Student Orientation.

International Student Orientation is required of students changing their visa status to F-1.  A hold will be added to your UT Dallas record which will prevent registration until this requirement is fulfilled. International Student Orientation provides valuable information to ease your transition to UT Dallas. During Orientation you can discover campus resources, fulfill your mandatory International Student Orientation requirement, and answer all your questions about registering for classes. Visit International Student Orientation for more information and registration links.

Maintain your current immigration status while your application is pending.

  • Submit your Change of Status application before your current status expires. If your status expires before you filed an application with USCIS to change your status, or if you have otherwise violated the terms of your status then USCIS may not approve you application. USCIS has a guide that may assist you understand this.
  • Be prepared in the event your application is denied. A change in status approval is not automatic. If your application is denied, you may be required to depart the United States immediately.
  • Do not engage in activities reserved for F-1 status until after you receive notice that your application has been approved. This includes F-1 employment such as on-campus employment or CPT. Once approved for F-1 status, you may be eligible to apply for CPT internships after you have established that you have been lawfully enrolled full-time in a U.S. university for at least one academic year (two consecutive long semesters) immediately prior to the semester in which the CPT will take place, and you have met other CPT requirements.
  • Enrolling in classes if you are B-1, B-2, or F-2 is a violation of your current immigration status. Even though UT Dallas will allow you to enroll and attend classes, if you are in one of the above immigration categories, you will be violating your current immigration status.
  • Enroll in and begin full-time study if you are in an immigration category that allows study such as H-4, L-2, or E-2.

Manage relevant UT Dallas deadlines while your Change of Status application is pending.

You are responsible to manage not only your immigration application and status, but also various deadlines and rules from other UT Dallas offices.

  • Office of Enrollment Services: If you are not lawfully permitted to study and your change of status application will not be approved in time to begin classes for the term which you were admitted, please consult the Office of Enrollment Services (OES)  early to determine relevant deadlines to defer your admission.
  • UT Dallas financial award granting office: If you are not lawfully permitted to work and you received a scholarship, assistantship or other financial award, please consult with the office which extended the award to you to determine your options and relevant deadlines if the change of status application is not approved by the start of classes.
  • Bursar’s Office: If you register for classes tuition and fees will be assessed. Refer to the UT Dallas Academic Calendar and Bursar’s Office for payment and refund rules and deadlines in the event that you withdraw from the classes.
  • Registrar’s Office: Contact the Registrar regarding adding and dropping classes, as well as information regarding Texas State Residency for tuition purposes.

Check the status of your change of status application online.

After you file, USCIS will mail you a receipt. This receipt will provide a number assigned to track your application. Your receipt will also give instructions on how you can use this receipt number to check the status of your case on the USCIS website.

If you filed electronically using USCIS ELIS, you created an account. You can log back into your account at any time to view the status of your case.

Steps after your Change of Status is Approved

  • Notify ISSO – The change of status process is not complete until ISSO staff register your new status in SEVIS. If this step does not occur, your new status will expire in 30 days!
    • If you left the U.S., upon return notify the ISSO and supply copies of the stamped I-20, I-94 and visa.
    • If you remained in the U.S. and used the ISSO address, there is nothing further required.
    • If you remained in the U.S. and used your home address, you must supply a copy of your new I-94 to ISSO.