Change to F-1 Status

Important Notice:

  • US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is accepting and deciding applications, including Change of Status (COS), regardless of the country of origin of applicants.
  • The ISSO recommends that eligible students and alumni continue to apply for these immigrant benefits, comply with all filing deadlines, and respond to any Requests for Evidence as usual..
  • If eligible, you should contact an immigration attorney to file a separate application with USCIS to extend your current visa status if that status will expire more than 30 days before your initial F-1 program start date, or if your F-1 program start date is deferred to the following academic term because your application is still pending with USCIS. USCIS may deny your change of status application if there is more than a 30-day gap in status from your current status expiration date and your I-20 start date.
  • Remember that an International Orientation registration hold will be placed on your record when your change of status I-20 is issued if you have not attended previously. You must attend International Orientation before this hold will be removed.
  • Reads Form I-539 is changing. The current version of the form (dated 2/4/2019) will be accepted for application postmarked by October 14, 2019. For all applications postmarked on or after October 15, 2019, you must use the new version of the I-539, which will be published online.

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.


  • 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:

  • Meet all eligibility requirements and be admitted to a UT Dallas degree seeking program.
  • Submit the iComet eForm for Change of Status
    • Log in to using your NetID and password
    • Click on “F-1 Current Students” on the left hand side.
    • Click on “Change of Status”
    • Complete all three eForms. Make sure to click “submit” at the bottom of the screen for each form.
  • Required documents for Change of Status application
    • UT Dallas Financial Affidavit
    • Financial support documents
      • Bank statement on bank letterhead or other supporting documents
      • UT Dallas TA/RA letter, if you have been granted an assistantship.
      • UT Dallas Scholarship letter, if you have been granted a scholarship.
    • Copy of the pages in your passport that contain your picture, name and date of expiry.
    • Evidence of current immigration status (I-797A Approval Notice or I-94).

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

  • If you are leaving the U.S. for the change of status, 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 9 – 12 months.
  • Students in non-study categories, such as B-2, should not enroll until they receive written approval of the change to F-1 status.

Register for International Student Orientation

International Student Orientation is required for students changing their visa status to F-1. A hold will be added to your UT Dallas record when your change of status I-20 is issued (if you have not attended orientation previously) which will prevent registration until this requirement is fulfilled. There are two ways for change of status students to fulfill the International Student Orientation requirement:

  • Attend any regularly scheduled International Student Orientation, hosted at the beginning of each semester.
  • Attend a Changing to F-1 Status Workshop, hosted monthly. Note: this option is only for continuing (not prospective) UTD students.

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.
  • 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 from USCIS 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.
  • Do not enroll in classes if your current immigration category does not allow it. Enrolling in any classes if you are B-1/B-2 is a violation of your current immigration status. Enrolling full-time if you are 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 for managing 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 Admissions and Enrollment 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.

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 your signed I-20, I-94 and F-1 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 and Approval Notice to the ISSO.