Change of Status (COS)

A change of status is a change in one’s primary purpose for being in the U.S. If you are currently on a non-immigrant status (except C, D, J subject to two year home residency, K visa status or under the visa waiver program) you may have the ability to change your status within the United States.

There are two ways to obtain a new nonimmigrant status:

Outside the U.S

You may also obtain another status by traveling abroad and scheduling an appointment at a U.S. embassy or consulate to apply for the appropriate visa for the status you wish to have granted upon re-entry to the US. You will need to have the appropriate documentation for the visa you wish to apply for.

LSU International Services recommends that you apply for a visa in your home country, though some embassies and consulates can process third country national requests. If you intend to apply for a visa at an embassy or consulate outside of your home country, contact that specific embassy or consulate to make sure they process third-country nationals and the required documentation.

Within the U.S.

Submit a change-of-status application to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) while remaining in the U.S. The USCIS reviews applications for changes of status based on the applicant's ability to document and justify a change of primary purpose for being in the U.S. since last arrival.

If you are in the United States unlawfully or have overstayed your current status, you are ineligible to apply for a change of status from within the Unites States.

Both options have associated advantages and risks, including immigration intent issues, timing, financial considerations, etc. Depending on the details for your situation, International Services may advise that one of these options is preferable. Please schedule an appointment with an International Student Adviser by calling (225) 578-3191 to discuss the specifics of your situation.

ExpandFrom F-2 or H-4 to F-1

F-2: An F-2 dependent may not engage in full-time study. Full-time study may begin only after the change of status from F-2 to F-1 has been approved and the official documents received by International Services.

H-4: An H-4 dependent can enroll in a degree program or may change to F-1 student status in order to pursue a full course of study leading to a degree. An H-4 dependent must change to F-1 status in order to accept any kind of employment, including assistantship duties.

Please decide which semester you wish to begin your F-1 status. Be aware that applying for a change of status by submitting an application to USCIS may take as many as 4 months for processing (sometimes even longer), so make your decision accordingly. If you wish to be changed to F-1 in less time, you must exit the U.S., apply for an F-1 visa and reenter the US in F1 status. If this is what you decide to do, please let us know before we issue your I-20. The I-20 to change status within the US is different from the one to apply for an F1 visa abroad.

ExpandStep 1

  • Request the I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility). You must be officially admitted to a program of study in order to receive the Form I-20. Please submit the following to International Services:

    1. Admission letter, Official evidence of your admission to LSU.
    2. Specific details of your financial ability to pay for this program of study. This can be bank statements (at least a 3 month history), a copy of your spouse’s/parent’s assistantship letter, proof of employment, an Affidavit of Support from family (original required), or a combination of all three sources. If you have accepted an assistantship, we must have a copy of the award letter detailing the exact dollar amount, the date the assistantship is to begin, whether it is for an academic or fiscal year appointment, etc.
    3. Proof of your current immigration status, including issue and expiration date.
    4. Your address in your home country.

    Please allow five (5) working days for us to produce this F-1 I-20 for you. We will e-mail you when your I-20 is ready. When it is ready, please come and pick it up at the IS Reception Desk. You will need your I-20 to pay the SEVIS fee (see Step 2).

  • Make a 1 hour appointment with the IS Change of Status advisor
  • on or after the date the I-20 is ready for you.

ExpandStep 2

Pay the SEVIS fee. You must pay the $200.00 SEVIS fee (Form I-901) ; visit the following web sites for information on this procedure: www.FMJfee.com or http://www.ice.gov/sevis/i901/index.htm. Be sure your printer is turned on so you can make a copy of the receipt.

ExpandStep 3

Bring the following with your when you come to your appointment with the Change of Status advisor:

  1. Completed form I-539 (Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status). Available at http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/i-539.pdf.
  2. Valid passport.
  3. I-94 document.
  4. All your F-2 I-20s (if you are in F-2 status).
  5. ALL your spouse’s/parent’s U.S. immigration documents: all I-20s, I-94, passport.
  6. Spouse’s/parent’s current employment letter and latest pay stub (if spouse/parent has H1B status).
  7. Proof of your relationship with your spouse/parent. (Example: marriage certificate, passport information).
  8. The F-1 I-20.
  9. SEVIS Fee Receipt.
  10. LSU official admission letter.
  11. Letter addressed to the US Immigration Services: With an explanation of your current status and requesting the change from that of F2 or H4 to F-1 and explain why you wish to change to F-1. Also, provide any other information concerning your immigration status. (if this is not the first time you are applying for a change of status, summarize all your previous changes). Keep it short and to the point, half a page maximum.
  12. Processing Fee. The Immigration Service requires a processing fee of $290.00.

When the application and all the supporting documents have been reviewed, you may submit your application packet to the Immigration Services for processing. Application processing times vary and may be rather long. To check the status of your application and for current processing times see https://egov.uscis.gov/cris/Dashboard/CaseStatus.do.

You will NOT receive a new entry visa stamp with your change of status approval. If you travel outside of the U.S. while in F-1 status, you will have to apply for an F-1 entry visa stamp while abroad to be able to return to the U.S.

Once your status is F-1, you must enroll as a full-time student. This is very important!

PLEASE NOTE: You cannot accept or begin any kind of employment until your status has been officially changed to F-1 status.

ExpandFrom H1B to F-1

An H-1B may change to F-1 student status in order to pursue a full course of study leading to a degree. An H-1B must change to F-1 status in order to accept assistantship duties or seek employment as an LSU student. In order to change from H-1B to F-1 you must be admitted to a program of study.

Please decide which semester you wish to begin your F-1 status. Be aware that applying for a change of status by may take as many as 4 months for processing (sometimes even longer), so make your decision accordingly. If you wish to be changed to F-1 in less time, you must exit the U.S., apply for an F-1 visa and reenter the US in F1 status. If this is what you decide to do, please let us know before we issue your I-20. The I-20 to change status within the US is different from the one to apply for an F1 visa abroad.

ExpandStep 1

  • Request the I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility). You must be officially admitted to a program of study in order to receive the Form I-20. Please submit the following to International Services:

    1. Admission letter, Official evidence of your admission to LSU.
    2. Specific details of your financial ability to pay for this program of study. This can be a bank statement, a copy of your spouse’s assistantship letter, an Affidavit of Support from family (original required), or a combination of all three sources. If you have accepted an assistantship, we must have a copy of the award letter detailing the exact dollar amount, the date the assistantship is to begin, whether it is for an academic or fiscal year appointment etc.
    3. Proof of your current immigration status, including issue and expiration date.
    4. Your address in your home country.

    Please allow five (5) working days for us to produce this F-1 I-20 for you. We will e-mail you when your I-20 is ready. When it is ready, please come and pick it up at the IS Reception Desk. You will need your I-20 to pay the SEVIS fee (see Step 2).

  • Make a 1 hour appointment with the Change of Status advisor on or after the date the I-20 is ready for you.

ExpandStep 2

  • Pay the SEVIS fee. You must pay the $200.00 SEVIS fee (Form I-901) ; visit the following web sites for information on this procedure: www.FMJfee.com or http://www.ice.gov/sevis/i901/index.htm. Be sure your printer is turned on so you can make a copy of the receipt.

ExpandStep 3

  • Bring the following with your when you come to your appointment:
    1. Completed form I-539 (Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status). Available at http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/i-539.pdf.
    2. Valid passport.
    3. I-94 document.
    4. COPY of I-797s notices (change of status approval notice, if changed status to H-1B while in the U.S.)
    5. Current employment letter and COPY of latest 3 (three) pay stubs.
    6. Your F-1 I-20.
    7. SEVIS fee receipt.
    8. LSU official admission letter
    9. Letter addressed to the US Immigration Services: With an explanation of your current status and requesting the change from that of H-1 to F-1 and explain why you wish to change to F-1. Also, provide any other information concerning your immigration status. (If this is not the first time you are applying for a change of status, summarize all your previous changes). Keep it short and to the point, half a page maximum.
    10. Processing fee. The Immigration Service requires a processing fee of $290.00.

When the application and all the supporting documents have been reviewed, you may submit your application packet to the Immigration Services for processing. Application processing times vary and may be rather long. To check the status of your application and for current processing times see https://egov.uscis.gov/cris/Dashboard/CaseStatus.do.

PLEASE NOTE: After your F-1 status change is approved, your H-1B employment is valid until the begin date noted on the approval notice. After that date, you have officially exited the H-1B status.

You will NOT receive a new entry visa stamp with your change of status approval. If you travel outside of the U.S. while in F-1 status, you will have to apply for an F-1 entry visa stamp while abroad to be able to return to the U.S.

PLEASE REMEMBER: As an F-1 student, you must be a full-time student during the academic year and you are allowed to work no more than 20 hours per week while classes are in session!

ExpandFrom J-1 to F-1

In order to change from J-1 to F-1 you must be admitted to a program of study.

Please decide which semester you wish to begin your F-1 status. Be aware that applying for a change of status by submitting an application to USCIS may take as many as 4 months for processing (sometimes even longer), so make your decision accordingly. If you wish to be changed to F-1 in less time, you must exit the U.S., apply for an F-1 visa and reenter the US in F1 status. If this is what you decide to do, please let us know before we issue your I-20. The I-20 to change status within the US is different from the one to apply for an F1 visa abroad.

ExpandStep 1

Request the I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility). You must be officially admitted to a program of study in order to receive the Form I-20. International Services must have the following documents to issue your I-20:

  1. Admission letter - official evidence of your admission to LSU.
  2. Specific details of your financial ability to pay for this program of study. This can be a bank statement, a copy of your spouse’s assistantship letter, an Affidavit of Support from family (original required), or a combination of all three sources. If you have accepted an assistantship, we must have a copy of the award letter detailing the exact dollar amount, the date the assistantship is to begin, whether it is for an academic or fiscal year appointment etc.
  3. Proof of your current immigration status, including issue and expiration date.
  4. Your address in your home country.

Please allow five (5) working days for us to produce this F-1 I-20 for you. We will e-mail you when your I-20 is ready. When it is ready, please come and pick it up at the ISO Reception Desk. You will need your I-20 to pay the SEVIS fee (see Step 2).

Request a 1 hour appointment with the change of status advisor after the date the I-20 is ready for you.

ExpandStep 2

Pay the SEVIS fee. You must pay the $200.00 SEVIS fee (Form I-901) ; vsit the following web sites for information on this procedure: www.FMJfee.com ; http://www.ice.gov/sevis/i901/index.htm. Be sure your printer is turned on so you can make a copy of the receipt.

ExpandStep 3

Bring the following with you when you come to your appointment:

  1. Completed form I-539 (Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status). Available at http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/i-539.pdf.
  2. Valid passport.
  3. I-94 document.
  4. All your DS-2019 forms.
  5. 2-year home residency requirement waiver approval from USCIS or waiver recommendation from Department of State (if you are subject to 2-year home residency requirement).
  6. LSU official admission letter.
  7. SEVIS fee receipt.
  8. F-1 I-20 (signed and dated).
  9. Letter addressed to the US Immigration Services: With an explanation of your current status and requesting the change from that of J-1 to F-1 and explain why you wish to change to F-1. Also, provide any other information concerning your immigration status. (If this is not the first time you are applying for a change of status, summarize all your previous changes). Keep it short and to the point, half a page maximum.
  10. Processing fee. The Immigration Service requires a processing fee of $290.00.

When the application and all the supporting documents have been reviewed, you may submit your application packet to the Immigration Services for processing. Application processing times vary and may be rather long. To check the status of your application and for current processing times see https://egov.uscis.gov/cris/Dashboard/CaseStatus.do.

You will NOT receive a new entry visa stamp with your change of status approval. If you travel outside of the U.S. while in F-1 status, you will have to apply for an F-1 entry visa stamp while abroad to be able to return to the U.S.

Once your status is F-1, you must enroll as a full-time student. This is very important!

PLEASE NOTE: You cannot accept any kind of employment at LSU in regards to your F-1 status until your status has been officially changed to F-1 status. Your employment can begin no earlier than 30 days prior to the first day of classes.

ExpandFrom L-2 to F-1

An L-2 dependent can enroll in a degree program or may change to F-1 student status in order to pursue a full course of study leading to a degree. An L-2 dependent is eligible to apply to USCIS for unrestricted employment authorization, including assistantship duties.

Please decide which semester you wish to begin your F-1 status. Be aware that applying for a change of status by submitting an application to USCIS may take as many as 4 months for processing (sometimes even longer), so make your decision accordingly. If you wish to be changed to F-1 in less time, you must exit the U.S., apply for an F-1 visa and reenter the US in F1 status. If this is what you decide to do, please let us know before we issue your I-20. The I-20 to change status within the US is different from the one to apply for an F1 visa abroad.

ExpandStep 1

  • Request the I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility). You must be officially admitted to a program of study in order to receive the Form I-20. International Services must have the following documents to issue your I-20:

    1. Admission letter, Official evidence of your admission to LSU.
    2. Specific details of your financial ability to pay for this program of study. This can be bank statements (at least a 3 month history), a copy of your spouse’s/parent’s assistantship letter, proof of employment, an Affidavit of Support from family (original required), or a combination of all three sources. If you have accepted an assistantship, we must have a copy of the award letter detailing the exact dollar amount, the date the assistantship is to begin, whether it is for an academic or fiscal year appointment, etc.
    3. Proof of your current immigration status, including issue and expiration date.
    4. Your address in your home country.

    Please allow five (5) working days for us to produce this F-1 I-20 for you. We will e-mail you when your I-20 is ready. When it is ready, please come and pick it up at the IS Reception Desk. You will need your I-20 to pay the SEVIS fee (see Step 2).

  • Make a 1 hour appointment with the IS Change of Status advisor on or after the date the I-20 is ready for you.

ExpandStep 2

Pay the SEVIS fee. You must pay the $200.00 SEVIS fee (Form I-901); visit the following web sites for information on this procedure: www.FMJfee.com or http://www.ice.gov/sevis/i901/index.htm. Be sure your printer is turned on so you can make a copy of the receipt.

ExpandStep 3

Bring the following with you when you come to your appointment with the Change of Status advisor:

  1. Completed form I-539 (Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status). Available at http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/i-539.pdf.
  2. Valid passport.
  3. I-94 document.
  4. ALL your spouse’s/parent’s (L1 Principal) immigration documents: Visa, I-94, passport, approval notices, etc.
  5. Spouse’s/parent’s proof of employment: Employment letter and latest 3 pay stubs
  6. Proof of your relationship with your spouse/parent. (Birth/marriage certificate, passport information).
  7. The F-1 I-20.
  8. SEVIS Fee Receipt.
  9. LSU official admission letter.
  10. Letter addressed to the US Immigration Services: With an explanation of your current status and requesting the change from that of L2 to F-1 and explain why you wish to change to F-1. Also, provide any other information concerning your immigration status. (If this is not the first time you are applying for a change of status, summarize all your previous changes). Keep it short and to the point, half a page maximum.
  11. Processing Fee. The Immigration Service requires a processing fee of $290.00.

When the application and all the supporting documents have been reviewed, you may submit your application packet to the Immigration Services for processing. Application processing times vary and may be rather long. To check the status of your application and for current processing times see https://egov.uscis.gov/cris/Dashboard/CaseStatus.do.

You will NOT receive a new entry visa stamp with your change of status approval. If you travel outside of the U.S. while in F-1 status, you will have to apply for an F-1 entry visa stamp while abroad to be able to return to the U.S.

Once your status is F-1, you must enroll as a full-time student. This is very important!

ExpandFrom E-2 to F-1

An E-2 dependent can enroll in a degree program or may change to F-1 student status in order to pursue a full course of study leading to a degree. An E-2 dependent is eligible to apply to USCIS for unrestricted employment authorization, including assistantship duties.

Please decide which semester you wish to begin your F-1 status. Be aware that applying for a change of status by submitting an application to USCIS may take as many as 4 months for processing (sometimes even longer), so make your decision accordingly. If you wish to be changed to F-1 in less time, you must exit the U.S., apply for an F-1 visa and reenter the US in F1 status. If this is what you decide to do, please let us know before we issue your I-20. The I-20 to change status within the US is different from the one to apply for an F1 visa abroad.

ExpandStep 1

  • Request the I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility). You must be officially admitted to a program of study in order to receive the Form I-20. Please submit the following to International Services.

    1. Admission letter, Official evidence of your admission to LSU.
    2. Specific details of your financial ability to pay for this program of study. This can be bank statements (at least a 3 month history), a copy of your spouse’s/parent’s assistantship letter, proof of employment, an Affidavit of Support from family (original required), or a combination of all three sources. If you have accepted an assistantship, we must have a copy of the award letter detailing the exact dollar amount, the date the assistantship is to begin, whether it is for an academic or fiscal year appointment, etc.
    3. Proof of your current immigration status, including issue and expiration date.
    4. Your address in your home country.

    Please allow five (5) working days for us to produce this F-1 I-20 for you. We will e-mail you when your I-20 is ready. When it is ready, please come and pick it up at the IS Reception Desk. You will need your I-20 to pay the SEVIS fee (see Step 2).

  • Make a 1 hour appointment with the IS Change of Status advisor on or after the date the I-20 is ready for you.

ExpandStep 2

Pay the SEVIS fee. You must pay the $200.00 SEVIS fee (Form I-901); visit the following web sites for information on this procedure: www.FMJfee.com or http://www.ice.gov/sevis/i901/index.htm. Be sure your printer is turned on so you can make a copy of the receipt.

ExpandStep 3

Bring the following with you when you come to your appointment with the Change of Status advisor:

  1. Completed form I-539 (Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status). Available at http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/i-539.pdf.
  2. Valid passport.
  3. I-94 document.
  4. ALL your spouse’s/parent’s (E1 Principal) immigration documents: Visa, I-94, passport, approval notices, etc.
  5. Spouse’s/parent’s proof of employment: Employment letter and latest 3 pay stubs.
  6. Proof of your relationship with your spouse/parent. (Birth/marriage certificate, passport information).
  7. The F-1 I-20.
  8. SEVIS Fee Receipt.
  9. LSU official admission letter.
  10. Letter addressed to the US Immigration Services: With an explanation of your current status and requesting the change from that of E2 to F-1 and explain why you wish to change to F-1. Also, provide any other information concerning your immigration status. (If this is not the first time you are applying for a change of status, summarize all your previous changes). Keep it short and to the point, half a page maximum.
  11. Processing Fee. The Immigration Service requires a processing fee of $290.00.

When the application and all the supporting documents have been reviewed, you may submit your application packet to the Immigration Services for processing. Application processing times vary and may be rather long. To check the status of your application and for current processing times see https://egov.uscis.gov/cris/Dashboard/CaseStatus.do.

You will NOT receive a new entry visa stamp with your change of status approval. If you travel outside of the U.S. while in F-1 status, you will have to apply for an F-1 entry visa stamp while abroad to be able to return to the U.S.

Once your status is F-1, you must enroll as a full-time student. This is very important!

ExpandFrom A-1/A-2 to F-1

In order to change from A-1/A-2 to F-1 you must be admitted to a program of study.

Please decide which semester you wish to begin your F-1 status. Be aware that applying for a change of status by submitting an application to USCIS may take as many as 4 months for processing (sometimes even longer), so make your decision accordingly. If you wish to be changed to F-1 in less time, you must exit the U.S., apply for an F-1 visa and reenter the US in F1 status. If this is what you decide to do, please let us know before we issue your I-20. The I-20 to change status within the US is different from the one to apply for an F1 visa abroad.

ExpandStep 1

  • Request the I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility). You must be officially admitted to a program of study in order to receive the Form I-20. We must have the following documents to issue your I-20:

    1. Admission letter - official evidence of your admission to LSU.
    2. Specific details of your financial ability to pay for this program of study. This can be a bank statement, a copy of your spouse’s assistantship letter, an Affidavit of Support from family (original required), or a combination of all three sources. If you have accepted an assistantship, we must have a copy of the award letter detailing the exact dollar amount, the date the assistantship is to begin, whether it is for an academic or fiscal year appointment etc.
    3. Proof of your current immigration status, including issue and expiration date.
    4. Your address in your home country.

    Please allow five (5) working days for us to produce this F-1 I-20 for you. When your I-20 is ready, please come and pick it up at the IS Reception Desk. You will need your I-20 to pay the SEVIS fee (see Step 2).

  • Make a 1 hour appointment with the IS Change of Status advisor on or after the date the I-20 is ready for you.

ExpandStep 2

Pay the SEVIS fee. You must pay the $200.00 SEVIS fee (Form I-901); visit the following web sites for information on this procedure: www.FMJfee.com or http://www.ice.gov/sevis/i901/index.htm. Be sure your printer is turned on so you can make a copy of the receipt.

ExpandStep 3

Bring the following with you when you come to your appointment with the Change of Status advisor:

  1. Completed form I-539 (Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status). Available at http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/i-539.pdf.
  2. Valid passport.
  3. I-94 document
  4. All your A-1/A-2 approval documents (I-797 status approval forms).
  5. COPY of the A-1 (primary status holder) documents if applicant is A-2: A-1 approval notices (I-797 forms), visa stamp, and passport.
  6. Original financial documents (see STEP 1).
  7. COPY of SEVIS fee receipt.
  8. ORIGINAL LSU I-20 (signed and dated).
  9. Letter addressed to US Immigration Services: With an explanation of your current status and requesting the change from that of A-1 or A-2 to F-1 and explain why you wish to change to F-1. Also, provide any other information concerning your immigration status. (If this is not the first time you are applying for a change of status, summarize all your previous changes). Keep it short and to the point, half a page maximum.
  10. Processing fee. The Immigration Service requires a processing fee of $290.00.

When the application and all the supporting documents have been reviewed, you may submit your application packet to the Immigration Services for processing. Application processing times vary and may be rather long. To check the status of your application and for current processing times see https://egov.uscis.gov/cris/Dashboard/CaseStatus.do.

You will NOT receive a new entry visa stamp with your change of status approval. If you travel outside of the U.S. while in F-1 status, you will have to apply for an F-1 entry visa stamp while abroad to be able to return to the U.S.

Once your status is F-1, you must enroll as a full-time student. This is very important!

PLEASE NOTE: You cannot accept any kind of employment at LSU based on your F-1 status until your status has been officially changed to F-1. Your employment can begin no earlier than 30 days prior to the first day of classes as an F-1.