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Changing to F-1 Status

Options to Obtain F-1 Status

To obtain F-1 status, you have 2 options

  1. Apply for your I-20 and travel outside the U.S. to apply for an F-1 visa.
  2. Apply for a Change of Status with USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services)

Travel Outside the U.S.

We strongly recommend that you travel abroad to apply for your F-1 visa.

If you are currently in the USA in another immigration status and would like to obtain F-1 status via travel, you will need to obtain an I-20 from our office. You must be admitted to or enrolled in a degree program before you are eligible for an I-20.

  1. Schedule an appointment with an international student advisor using The Bay Advisor.
  2. Bring the necessary documents that are listed in the Change of Status to F-1 Handout
  3. Once you enter the USA in F-1, you will need to complete the "check in" procedure

Employment Eligibility

If you obtain F-1 status after traveling abroad and obtaining an F-1 visa to enter the USA in F-1 status, you will be required to complete 2 (two) semesters enrolled as a full time student in F-1 status before being eligible for any off-campus employment such as OPT or CPT.

 

Change of Status with USCIS

Eligibility

  • Admitted or currently enrolled in a degree program at Cal State East Bay
  • You are not subject to the J-1 two year home residency requirement
  • Your most recent entry was not through the visa waiver program (ESTA)
  • You must maintain lawful status throughout the full process (anywhere from 2.5-12 months)

How to Apply for a Change of Status with USCIS

  1. Schedule an appointment with an international student advisor using The Bay Advisor.
  2. Bring the necessary documents that are listed in the Change of Status to F-1 Handout
  3. Mail your documents to USCIS- we recommend you keep a copy for your records
  4. Email cie@csueastbay.edu with a copy of your I-797 receipt
  5. Attend your biometrics appointment
    • You will receive a notice from USCIS with the date, time and location of your appointment. You must show up to this appointment.
  6. Update CIE
    • Notify us if you receive any other notices from USCIS or need to travel.

Traveling Abroad

  • While your application is pending: If you leave the U.S. while your application is pending with USCIS, it will be considered abandoned and you'll need to obtain a new I-20 from us. You will need to apply for an F-1 visa at the U.S. consulate to return.
  • After change of status is approved: If you travel after approval, you'll need to apply for an F-2 visa at a U.S. Consulate to return

Employment Eligibility

  • Your full-time enrollment at CSU East Bay in your current visa status will count towards the 2 semesters of consecutive full-time enrollment requirement for off-campus employment

Why we do not recommend Change of Status with USCIS

  • The processing time varies. It can range from 2.5 months to 12 months.
  • You must maintain a lawful status throughout the processing time
  • You are not in F-1 status until USCIS approves your application.
  • If you leave the U.S. while your application is pending, USCIS will consider it "abandoned" and will deny it.
  • If your application is denied you may be considered unlawfully present in the U.S.
  • USCIS may request additional information which will delay your application
  • If you are in B-1 or B-2 status, you cannot enroll for classes until your application is approved. This means you would have to reapply to a future term with the university.

We recommend you consult an experienced immigration attorney if you wish to change your status.

 

 

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