Changing Status from B1/B2 to F-1 Visa: A Guide for Students in the United States

Changing Status from B1/B2 to F-1 Visa: A Guide for Students in the United States

The United States has long been a destination for international students seeking quality education and diverse academic experiences. If you're currently in the U.S. on a B1/B2 tourist visa but have aspirations of pursuing academic studies, you may be wondering how to change your status to an F-1 student visa while remaining within the United States. In this blog, we will provide you with a step-by-step guide, outlining the process and considerations involved in changing your status from B1/B2 to F-1 within the United States.

Understanding the B1/B2 Visa

The B1/B2 visa is typically granted for temporary visits, such as tourism, business meetings, or medical treatment. It does not permit full-time enrollment in a U.S. academic institution. To pursue academic studies, you'll need to change your status to an F-1 visa to ensure compliance with U.S. immigration regulations.

Steps to Change Your Status

Acceptance to a SEVP-Certified School: Your first step is to secure admission to a U.S. educational institution certified by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). Once admitted, the school will provide you with an I-20 form, which is essential for your F-1 status application.

Complete Form I-539: To initiate the change of status process, you must file Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Along with the form, you will need to submit supporting documents, including the I-20 form from your school, proof of financial support, and a valid passport.

Pay the Required Fees: USCIS typically requires a fee for processing Form I-539. Ensure you check the USCIS website for the most current fee information.

Wait for USCIS Decision: After submitting your application, USCIS will review it and make a decision. This process can take several months, so be patient.

Considerations and Tips

Timeliness: Initiate the process well in advance of your intended start date at the U.S. institution to account for possible delays.

Seek Legal Advice: Due to the complexity of changing visa statuses, consulting an immigration attorney is strongly recommended. They can provide expert guidance and help you navigate potential challenges.

Maintain Legal Status: Until your change of status is approved, continue to comply with the terms and conditions of your B1/B2 visa. Violations could jeopardize your change of status application.


Changing your status from a B1/B2 visa to an F-1 student visa while in the United States is a significant decision that requires careful planning and adherence to U.S. immigration regulations. With proper preparation, determination, and a strong commitment to your educational goals, you can successfully transition to F-1 status and embark on your academic journey within the United States. Patience and perseverance will be your allies throughout this process.

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

Published on December 29, 2023

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