Changing from B1/B2 Visa to F1 Student Visa

Changing from B1/B2 Visa to F1 Student Visa
If you're an international student already in the United States on a B1/B2 tourist visa and have decided to pursue your educational dreams here, this guide is tailored to help you transition smoothly to F1 student status. Fortunately, the process doesn't involve an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate. Instead, you'll need to file Form I-539 and await a decision from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Understanding the Process: Transitioning to F1 Student Status

Transitioning from a B1/B2 visa to an F1 student visa without leaving the U.S. involves the following steps:

Step 1: Confirm Your Eligibility

Ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria for changing your status. This typically includes maintaining your B1/B2 status, being accepted into a SEVP-certified school, and not having engaged in unauthorized employment.

Step 2: Obtain Form I-20

After securing admission to a SEVP-certified school, you will receive a Form I-20. This document is crucial for your application to change your status.

Step 3: Complete Form I-539

Form I-539, officially known as the Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, is the key form you need to file. Include all required supporting documents, such as your Form I-20, proof of financial resources, and any other relevant materials.

Step 4: Pay the Filing Fee

Don't forget to pay the required filing fee when submitting Form I-539. The fee is subject to change, so make sure to check the USCIS website for the most up-to-date information.

Step 5: Mail Your Application

Mail your completed Form I-539, along with the required fee and supporting documents, to the appropriate USCIS address. Be sure to make copies of everything you send for your records.

Step 6: Wait for USCIS Decision

After USCIS receives your application, you'll need to be patient while they review your request. The processing time can vary, so it's advisable to check the USCIS website for estimated processing times. You can also track the status of your application online.

Step 7: Receive Decision

Once USCIS makes a decision on your application, you'll receive a notification in the mail. If approved, the notice will include details about your updated status and the duration of your F1 student status.

Step 8: Inform Your School

Once your status is changed to F1, inform your school's international student office. They will guide you on the necessary steps to comply with F1 student regulations, including registering for classes and attending orientations.


Transitioning from a B1/B2 visa to F1 student status while already in the U.S. is a process that involves filing Form I-539 and awaiting a decision from USCIS. By following the steps outlined in this guide and ensuring your eligibility, you can smoothly navigate the transition and embark on your educational journey as an F1 student.

Tagged: Change of Status to F-1 in Los Angeles, Change of Status to F-1 in la

Published on August 11, 2023

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