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Changing Status

In this Section

A change of status is a change of one’s primary purpose for being in the United States. Those presently in the United States in a nonimmigrant status and have been accepted for full-time study at Clarkson University may need to change their status in order to begin study. This may be especially necessary if you will have on-campus employment – graduate assistantship – or other employment; some nonimmigrant statuses have the ability to attend CU and study but prohibit employment (i.e. F2 or H4).

Chaning my status to study...

Students who choose to change to a new nonimmigrant status to study have two options:

  1. Travel - exit the U.S. – obtain the proper visa – and – ‘re-enter’ using the new visa

  2. Submit an application with USCIS (US Customs & Immigration Services) and receive a new status.

    1. Important Note – USCIS does not issue visas and if approved you will need to obtain a visa stamp at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy if you plan to travel out of the country

Changing status through travel –

  • Obtain an I-20 or DS-2019 from ISSS and travel out of the country to apply for an F-1 or J-1 entry visa at a U.S. consulate or embassy

    • To apply for a new visa, you will need to show;

      • Your original I-20 or DS-2019 signed by your international adviser (ISSS) and you

      • Valid passport

      • Copy of your admission letter from CU

      • Financial documentation used for I-20 or DS-2019 issuance

      • Proof of ties to your home country

      • SEVIS fee receipt

    • Notes –

      • You will be able to enter to begin your program no more than 30-days prior to the program start date noted on your I-20 or DS-2019

      • You should carry all documents shown for your visa stamp (SEVIS fee receipt – admission letter – financial documentation – passport – I-20/DS-2019)

      • Upon clearing inspection at the U.S. Port of Entry – you will receive a new I-94…please review to be sure the correct visa classification was noted

Changing status to F-1 through USCIS 

  • Form I-539: “Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status” and application fee of $370. This check should be made payable to “Department of Homeland Security”. Write your 11-digit “admission number” from your I-94 card on the front of your check.

  • A copy of your signed I-20 from ISSS noted ‘Initial Attendance – change of status requested’.

  • A cover letter from you address to the USCIS requesting a change of status from current status to F-1 student. This letter should explain your circumstances and include why you entered the U.S. under your current status and why and how your intentions have changed after arrival in the U.S. and any other information relevant to your decision to study in the U.S. It is also helpful to include how your education will help you in your future return to your home country.

  • A copy of the financial documentation you submitted for your I-20.

    • Please be sure to include all bank statements and financial aid offers

  • A copy of your original I-94 card or electronic I-94 page. Note: USCIS will generate a new I-94 card as part of the change of status approval notice.

  • A copy of your current immigration status documents – i.e. Approval notice - passport and U.S. visa stamp.

  • Your dependent’s status change will be included with your  I-539 application – however – you will need to include the dependent original I-20 and Form I-94 – if applicable..

  • Please contact International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) with any questions or concerns.

Important Note - F-1 employment benefits are not available until the change of status has been approved by USCIS. 

Mail to (update) USCIS Dallas Lockbox – File all ‘other’ I-539 applications – please verify filing information

For U.S. Postal Service (USPS) Deliveries:


PO Box 660867

Dallas, TX 75266

For Express Mail and courier deliveries:


Attn: AOS

2501 S. State Hwy. 121 Business

Suite 400

Lewisville, TX 75067


Processing Times will vary. Please report the response of your change of status to the International Student & Scholars Office as soon as you receive notification from USCIS.


Special Note for F-2 Dependents – Per F1 regulations you are not able to work or study full-time until your change of status has been approved. Please take the timing into consideration when processing your change of status application. Admission deferral will occur if the change of status is not approved by the start of the term you are beginning your program in.


Please contact ISSS with any questions or concerns.