Change of Status from Other Visa Types

A student who is currently not in F-1 status may be eligible to change to F-1 without leaving the U.S. To apply for a change of status (COS), you need to bring the following documents to the International Students and Scholars Office:

  • A cover letter indicating your reasons for changing status. Be sure to carefully justify why you did not have the F-1 when you entered the U.S. Include your permanent address in your home country as well as your temporary address in the U.S. (Sample Change of Status Cover Letter)
  • A copy of letter of admission from your academic department
  • Confidential Financial Statement (Including a copy proof of finance i.e. bank certification on
  • page two of confidential financial statement, or bank statement, loan award letter, etc.)
  • I-539 Application Form
  • I-94 Form printed from www.cbp.gov/I94
  • A copy of the name page in your passport (include any passport extension pages)
  • A copy of your most recent visa stamp in passport
  • A of current immigration status documents (H-4 approval, J-2 DS-2019, etc.)
  • $300.00 check payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security

After you receive your I-20 from ISSO, you need to pay $200 SEVIS Fee and include receipt with COS documents, and then mail COS documents through the post office via “CERTIFIED Mail” to:

U.S. Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
California Service Center
PO Box 10539, Laguna Niguel, CA 92607-1053

When your application is approved (within 1 to 3 months), your original I-20 will be returned with a notation of the change of status. YOU MUST BRING THESE DOCUMENTS TO ISSO AS SOON AS YOU RECEIVE THEM SO THAT WE CAN COMPLETE THE CHANGE OF STATUS IN SEVIS AND UPDATE YOUR RECORDS.

**Please note that even if the change of status (COS) is approved, the change is valid only as long as you remain in the U.S. as a full-time student. If you travel abroad, you will need to apply for the F-1 student visa at a U.S. Embassy in your home country to reenter the U.S. Please meet with an ISSO advisor before making travel plans.