Change of Status from Inside the United States


To change your status, you must choose one of two methods:

If you are considering changing your current immigration status to a different immigration status, keep in mind that every immigration status has different rules and benefits. You may want to explore the rules and benefits of your current status as well as the one you are considering changing to and visit with an ISS advisor during Immigration Advising Hours to discuss the benefits and consequences of changing your status.

ISS primarily advises students who are changing to an F or J category status. If you are planning on changing to a category other than F or J, you may visit with an ISS advisor for general information or you may consider contacting a qualified immigration attorney.


Begin the Change of Status Process

In order to change your status from inside the United States, you must submit an application and certain required documentation to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). USCIS will determine the basis of your eligibility for your change of status request based on their review of your application and documents. Incomplete applications or applications missing documents may be returned or denied. If you have questions about your change of status application, contact ISS at iss@ku.edu.

The change of status application is unpredictable and often takes 5 to 10 months to be approved by USCIS.

ISS primarily advises students who are changing to an F or J category status. If you are planning on changing to a category other than F or J, you may visit with an ISS advisor for general information or you may consider contacting a qualified immigration attorney.

Documentation for the I-539 Application

You will need to gather all supporting current immigration documents to prove you have maintained your legal status while you have been inside the United States. If you are dependent (spouse or child), you will need copies of the primary visa holder's current immigration status documents. Please make sure you review each section in regards to your current immigration status as well as which immigration status you wish to become.

Prepare clear photocopies of all of the below listed documents except for the proof of finances to submit with your application. USCIS prefers to work with your original financial document.

I am currently in this immigration status

  • Applicant’s current F-1 I-20
  • Applicant’s passport page(s) with name, date of birth and expiration date
  • Applicant’s visa used to enter the U.S. and any Change of Status I-797 Approval Notice obtained after entry, if applicable
  • Applicant’s most recent I-94
  • Applicant’s current F-2 I-20 as a dependent
  • Current F-1 spouse or parent's I-20
  • Current F-1 spouse or parent's I-94
  • Current F-1 spouse or parent's visa used to enter the U.S. and any Change of Status I-797 Approval Notice obtained after entry, if applicable
  • Current F-1 spouse or parent's passport page(s) showing name, photo, date of birth and expiration date
  • Applicant’s passport page(s) with name, date of birth and expiration date
  • Applicant’s visa used to enter the U.S. and any Change of Status I-797 Approval Notice obtained after entry, if applicable
  • Applicant’s most recent I-94

CAUTION: If you are subject to the two-year home residency requirement, you are not eligible to change your status within the U.S. unless you are granted a waiver of this requirement!

  • Applicant J-1’s copy of 2 year home residency waiver, if applicable [or advisory opinion stating not subject to 212 (e)]
  • Applicant’s current J-1 DS-2019
  • Applicant’s passport page(s) with name, date of birth and expiration date
  • Applicant’s visa used to enter the U.S. and any Change of Status I-797 Approval Notice obtained after entry, if applicable
  • Applicant’s most recent I-94
  • Applicant’s J-2 2 year home residency waiver, if applicable [or advisory opinion-not subject to 212 (e)]
  • Applicant’s J-2 DS-2019 as a dependent
  • Current J-1 spouse or parent's I-94
  • Current J-1 spouse or parent's visa used to enter the U.S. and any Change of Status I-797 Approval Notice obtained after entry
  • Current J-1 spouse or parent's passport page(s) with name, photo, date of birth and expiration date
  • Current J-1 spouse or parent's DS-2019
  • Applicant’s passport page(s) with name, date of birth and expiration date
  • Applicant’s visa used to enter the U.S. and any Change of Status I-797 Approval Notice obtained after entry, if applicable
  • Applicant’s most recent I-94
  • Applicant’s H-1B Approval Notice – Form I-797A
  • Proof applicant H-1B is still employed e.g. letter from current employer verifying still in position or current pay stub
  • Applicant’s passport page(s) with name, date of birth and expiration date
  • Applicant’s visa used to enter the U.S. and any Change of Status I-797 Approval Notice obtained after entry, if applicable
  • Applicant’s most recent I-94
  • Current H-1B spouse or parent's Approval Notice Form I-797
  • Current H-1B spouse or parent's most recent I-94
    • Attached to the bottom of the I-797, or retrieved if current H-1B spouse or parent re-entered the U.S. after receiving the I-797 approval notice
  • Current H-1B spouse or parent's visa used to enter the U.S. and any Change of Status I-797 Approval Notice obtained after entry, if applicable
  • Current H-1B spouse or parent's passport page(s) showing name, photo, date of birth and expiration date
  • Proof current H-1B spouse or parent is still employed. e.g. current letter verifying H-1B is still employed in position as approved in I-797 or a current paystub
  • Applicant’s passport page(s) with name, date of birth and expiration date
  • Applicant’s visa used to enter the U.S. and any Change of Status I-797 Approval Notice obtained after entry, if applicable
  • Applicant’s most recent I-94

CAUTION: You must maintain your B-1 status until the change of status is approved!

You may need to also file an I-539 (with fee) for a B-1/B-2 extension if your current I-94 will expire before your change of status application is processed.

  • Personal letter and supportive evidence
    • The letter and evidence must show your intent to be a student changed after entering the U.S. and that your course of study has not yet begun
  • Applicant’s passport page(s) with name, date of birth and expiration date
  • Applicant’s visa used to enter the U.S. and any Change of Status I-797 Approval Notice obtained after entry, if applicable
  • Applicant’s most recent I-94
  • Principal E-2’s Approval Notice Form I-797
  • Proof principal E-2 is still employed
    • E.g. current letter verifying Principal E-2 is still employed in position as approved in I-797 or a current paystub
  • If Applicant is in a dependent E-2 status, also include:
    • Principal E-2 spouse or parent’s visa used to enter the U.S. and any Change of Status I-797 Approval Notice obtained after entry, if applicable
    • Principal E-2 spouse or parent’s most recent I-94
      • Attached to the bottom of the I-797, or retrieved if re-entered the U.S. after receiving the I-797 approval notice
    • Principal E-2 spouse or parent’s passport page(s) showing name, photo, date of birth and expiration date
  • Applicant’s passport page(s) with name, date of birth and expiration date
  • Applicant’s visa used to enter the U.S. and any Change of Status I-797 Approval Notice obtained after entry, if applicable
  • Applicant’s most recent I-94

I Plan to Change to this Immigration Status

  • Applicant's new F-1 I-20 (just pages 1 & 2; be sure to sign at the bottom of page 1).
  • Applicant's I-901 SEVIS fee receipt
  • Evidence of financial support covering the minimum listed on the new F-1 I-20
    • Past 4 months of bank statements or proof of a GTA/GRA/scholarship are acceptable (a letter from the bank with current balance is insufficient)
  • There are instructions on how to get your F-1 I-20 form.

Get your I-20 form - for students currently enrolled at KU

  1. Login to iHawk
  2. Click on 'ISS Services for All Students'
  3. Click on 'Change of Status to F-1 I-20 Request' and submit all forms in this e-form group.
  4. Forms 1 - 3 can be submitted in any order
  5. Form 4 becomes available only after forms 1 - 3 are submitted.
  6. Once you submit form 4, schedule an appointment with an ISS immigration advisor in order to have your request reviewed and the change of status I-20 issued.

Get your I-20 form - for new students

  1. Apply for and be admitted to KU. On your application, make sure you indicate what status you are in now and what status you are requesting to be in during your studies at KU
  2. After you have been admitted (and after you have accepted your admission if you are a graduate student), you will receive an email from ISS asking you to complete several forms in iHawk
  3. Once you have completed the forms in iHawk, an ISS Document Specialist will review the E-forms and may contact you for additional information
  4. After a final review of all of your E-forms, documents and additional information, your I-20 will be issued

    Additional Supporting Documentation

    • New primary F-1 parent or spouse's updated I-20
    • New primary F-1 parent or spouse's I-94
    • New primary F-1 parent or spouse's visa used to enter the U.S. and any Change of Status I-797 Approval Notice obtained after entry
    • New primary F-1 parent or spouse's passport page(s) with name, date of birth and passport expiration
    • Proof of relationship between F-1 and F-2 (marriage or birth certificate; as appropriate)
    • F-2 dependent I-20 (just pages 1 & 2; make sure F-1 signs at the bottom of page 1)

    Your new primary F-1 (parent or spouse) is a KU student, they must request to add you as their dependent F-2 by:

    1. Primary F-1 logs into their iHawk
    2. Primary F-1 clicks on ‘F-1 Student Services’ in the menu and then ‘I-20 Requests’
    3. Click on ‘Start a New Request’
    4. Click on ‘I-20 Add Dependents(s)'
    5. Complete the e-form. You will need to upload scans of the new F-2’s passport, and financial documentation that proves the F-1 can pay for the support of the F-2 in addition to the F-1’s academic expenses
    6. The F-1 must meet with an ISS immigration advisor after submitting the e-form and have the dependent F-2 I-20 issued
    7. An ISS advisor will create new I-20s for the primary F-1 and the new F-2

    How to get your F-2 I-20 if F-1 primary is not a KU Student

    • Contact the institution that issued the F-1 primary’s current I-20 for instructions on how to get an F-2 I-20.

    Additional Supporting Documents

    • Applicant’s new, original DS-2019; be sure to sign exchange visitor certification
    • I-901 SEVIS fee payment receipt
    • Evidence of financial support covering at least the amount listed on the DS-2019
      • USCIS Form I-134 is recommended. Other evidence that may be sufficient: Past 4 months of bank statements (a letter from the bank is insufficient)

    Additional Supporting Documents

    • Evidence of financial support for both the J-1 and J-2 without the J-2 having to work
      • Past 4 months of bank statements or proof of a GTA/GRA/scholarship are acceptable (a letter from the bank with current balance is insufficient)
    • New primary J-1 parent or spouse’s updated DS-2019
    • New primary J-1 parent or spouse’s I-94 (front and back)
    • New primary J-1 parent or spouse’s visa used to enter the U.S. and any Change of Status I-797 Approval Notice obtained after entry
    • New primary J-1 parent or spouse’s passport page(s) showing photo, name, date of birth and expiration date
    • Proof of relationship between J-1 and J-2 (marriage or birth certificate; as appropriate)
    • J-2 dependent DS-2019 (have J-1 sign at the bottom before submitting)

    How to get your J-2 DS-2019 if J-1 primary's DS-2019 was issued by KU

    Your new primary J-1 (parent or spouse) must request to add you as their dependent J-2 by:

    1. New primary J-1 logs in to their iHawk
    2. New primary J-1 clicks on ‘J-1 Student Services’ in the menu and then ‘DS-2019 Requests’
    3. Click on ‘Start a New Request’
    4. Click on ‘DS-2019 Add Dependents(s)’
    5. Complete the form. You will need to upload scans of the new J-2’s passport, and financial documentation that proves the J-1 can pay for the support of the J-2 in addition to the J-1’s academic expenses
    6. The J-1 must go to ISS to visit with an advisor after submitting the form and once the form is in the ‘Pending Review’ status
    7. An ISS advisor will create new DS-2019s for the primary J-1 and the new J-2

    How to get your J-2 DS-2019 if J-1 primary's DS-2019 was not issued by KU

    • Contact the institution that issued the J-1 primary’s current DS-2019 for instructions on how to get a J-2 DS-2019.

    Additional Supporting Documents

    • Letter explaining interest in traveling, plans to go home and ties to home country (non-immigrant intent)
    • Evidence of financial support
      • Past 4 months of bank statements are acceptable (a letter from the bank with current balance is insufficient)
    • Evidence of return air ticket home

    Submit Application

    Now that you have gathered all supporting documentation, you need to file the I-539 petition with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

    • Prepare the Application and Biometric Fees
      • You must pay two fees:
        • Application Filing Fee: $370 per application
        • Biometric Services Fee: $85 per person in application as an applicant or co-applicant
      • If filing online - can pay by credit card
      • If mailing application to USCIS:
        • To pay by money order or U.S. check (recommended), make check payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
        • To pay by credit card (possible but not recommended due to a number of rejections causing a 1-month delay in processing), complete the fillable PDF, print and sign Form G-1450.
        • Include payment on the top of your application materials.
    • Complete the Change of Status Application Form I-539
      • Download Form I-539 "Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status" or file online.
      • Type your responses on the form following USCIS instructions, then print the completed form and sign it.
      • If applying with dependents, include Form I-539A completed and signed by each dependent.
    • Optional: Make a 1 hour appointment with ISS to have your application reviewed
    • Include all prepared supporting documents as described above
    • If not applying online, mail your application, fee, and documents to USCIS:
      • Optional: complete the Form G-1145 to get electronic notification that USCIS has received your application
        • Download Form G-1145
        • Type your responses on the form and include a printed copy with your application materials.
      • ISS suggests that you mail the application in a manner that guarantees proof of delivery (e.g. certified mail).
      • The mailing address depends on the postal carrier you choose and the type of I-539 you are filing.

    After you Submit your Application

    • You can check your application status online.
    • If you move or change your address while your change of status is still pending:
      • Notify USCIS.
      • The U.S. Post Office will NOT forward any correspondence from USCIS even if you have a mail forwarding request on file.

    Change of Status Approved

    If your change of status is approved you will be given a new I-94 for the new status and are eligible for all the benefits of the new status, but this does not change the visa in your passport. It is okay to remain in the U.S. in the new status with a visa in your passport from your old category, but if you travel outside the U.S. you will have to apply for a new visa in the new category in order to return to the U.S. in the new category.

    Bring proof of your change of status to ISS:

    • If you are a new student, upload the approval notice through your pre-arrival checklist in iHawk before orientation. If you have already completed your new student ISS checkin, bring your approval notice and visit with an ISS advisor.
    • If you are a currently enrolled (continuing) student, bring your approval notice and visit with an ISS advisor.