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Changing Visa Status to F-1


If you are intending to study, or already studying at Lumos Language School in a nonimmigrant visa classification other than F-1 student, it may be possible to apply to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for a change of status to F-1.

Click to review more information on Change of Status. 

USCIS – How do I change to another nonimmigrant status?

Change of Status Process

The Change of Status (COS) process only changes your status, for example, the classification indicated on your I-94 record and not the visa stamp in your passport.

To receive the F-1 visa stamp in your passport, you can either:

  1. Apply for a change of status in the US using the Form I-539 (and Form I-539A if you have dependents), then once approved, travel outside of the US and apply for an F-1 visa at a US consulate in your home country to be able to return to the US as an F-1 student.
  • Important Update for in country change of status: Every co-applicant included on the primary applicant’s Form I-539 must submit and sign a separate Form I-539A. Parents may sign on behalf of children under 14 or any co-applicant who is not mentally competent to sign. Every applicant and co-applicant must pay an $85 biometric services fee, except certain A, G, and NATO nonimmigrants as noted in the new Form I-539 Instructions. Every applicant and co-applicant will receive a biometric services appointment notice, regardless of age, containing their individual receipt number. The biometric services appointments will be scheduled at the Application Support Center (ASC) closest to the primary applicant’s address. Co-applicants who wish to be scheduled at a different ASC location should file a separate Form I-539. USCIS will reject any revised Form I-539 that is missing any of the required signatures or biometrics fees, including those required for Form I-539A.
  1. Obtain a Form I-20 from International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) and return to your home country to apply for an F-1 visa at a US consulate to reenter the US as an F-1 student.

We strongly recommends traveling outside the US with a new Form I-20 and applying for an F-1 visa in your home country. The in-country change of status application is timely and unpredictable.

Additional Resources

An experienced immigration lawyer is best positioned to advise on all aspects of any change of status application, including the timing, type, and number of bridge applications that may have to be filed, exploring alternative immigration strategies such as consular processing and reentry instead of applying for change of status, responding to Requests for Evidence (RFEs), and other matters that relate to the personal immigration status of the student and his or her dependents.

A change of status application is a personal application of the applicant, and can have a complex impact on the applicant’s immigration status and eligibility for future immigration benefits. DSOs have general knowledge surrounding change of status applications but applicants needing immigration advice and help planning an immigration strategy should seek counsel from an experienced immigration attorney.

Helpful Links:

FAQs – Changing to a Nonimmigrant F or M Student Status

Changing to a Nonimmigrant F Student Status

USCIS: How do I change to another nonimmigrant status?

Applying for Reinstatement or Change of Status by yourself

Citizenship and Immigration Services – Welcome to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (


Filing online helps you to:

  • Get your application into our processing queue faster than mail delivery;
  • Ensure you are using the correct version of the form; and
  • Communicate with us directly, without sending or receiving paper mail.

Conditions to File Form I-539 Online

You may apply online to extend or change your nonimmigrant status if you meet the following conditions.

You are applying:

  • Only for yourself, without co-applicants; and
  • You will not require legal or accredited representation at any point in your request.

You can apply to reinstate your student status, extend, (if you already hold the status), or change to the following statuses:

Family Members of Nonimmigrants

If you apply as part of a family, you may choose to:

In the Near Future

We also plan to offer the ability to file your Form I-539 online if you:

  • Possess T or U nonimmigrant classifications;
  • Are applying with an attorney or accredited representative; or
  • Are applying as co-applicants, so family members may apply together and pay a single fee.

To file online, you will:

  • Use a desktop, laptop, phone, or tablet to complete the application;
  • Be guided to complete the relevant parts of your Form I-539;
  • Pay your filing fee online;
  • Submit your application to USCIS; and
  • Receive a near-instant notification in your USCIS online account when we receive your application.

After Applying Online

You will use your USCIS online account to:

  • Receive your biometrics appointment notice;
  • Receive status updates about your case;
  • Respond to any correspondence in which we ask you to submit evidence; and
  • Update your contact information if it changes.


Check the processing time here: