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UMDNJ  
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CHANGING STATUS TO F-1

Individuals who are in the U.S. under a different nonimmigrant classification may choose to change status to F-1 in order to pursue their studies in the U.S. There are practical reasons for choosing to change status. However, prospective students are reminded that the main purpose of the F-1 status is to engage in FULL-TIME studies. Prospective students are advised to change status to F-1 only if they intend to enroll in a full-time, campus-based program. Individuals admitted to part-time or web-based programs do not qualify for F-1 status.

There are two different ways of obtaining F-1 status: 1) By submitting a Change of Status application to the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS); 2) By exiting the U.S. and reentering with an F-1 visa.

1)   Application for Change of Status: Individuals wishing to obtain F-1 status without leaving the U.S. must submit a formal application to the USCIS. Changes of status to F-1 may take anywhere between 9 to 12 months to be processed by the USCIS. The steps involved in submitting a change of status application are as follows:

a)   Apply and be admitted to a full-time, campus based program.

b)  Submit an application for the form I-20 (I-20 Application) to the International Services Office (page 2 of the application form contains the list of items that must be submitted as part of the change of status application).

c)   Mail the application and appropriate fees to the USCIS office that has jurisdiction over your place of residence.

Students will be notified by an International Services staff member as soon as our office receives the approval from the USCIS.

SPECIAL NOTES:

a)   Individuals in the following categories are prohibited from enrolling in a course of studies until after the change of status application is enrolled: WB, WT, and B-1/B-2 visitors.

b)  If there will be a gap of 30 days or more between the end of your current status and your program start date as it appears on the form I-20, you do not qualify for a change of status in the U.S.

c) F-2 dependents can enroll in courses part time.

d)   Individuals in the following categories do not qualify for a change of status in the U.S. and are required to exit the country in order to obtain F-1 status: WB, WT, J-1 exchange visitors subject to the two-year home-country physical presence requirement, individuals who are in violation of their current status.

2)   Exit and Reentry: Individuals may also obtain F-1 status by following these steps:

a)   Apply and be admitted to a full-time, campus-based program.

b)  Submit an application for the Form I-20 (I-20 Application) to the International Service office (page 2 of the application form contains the list of items that must be submitted with the application).

c)   Once the I-20 has been issued, the individual must exit the U.S. and apply for the F-1 visa at a U.S. consulate/embassy abroad (US Embassies/Consulates).

d)   Reenter  the  U.S. using the  Form 1-20 issued  by RBHS and the  F-1 visa issued  by the consulate/embassy.

Individuals wishing to obtain  F-1 status by either  submitting a change  of status application or through exit and reentry are advised  to  make an appointment with an international student advisor  in order  go over their options.

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Copyright 2013, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution.
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