“Who is eligible to change their immigration status to F-1?”
Read this article to learn more about applying for a change of status and to learn who is, and who is not, eligible to apply for an F-1 Visa.
Today, we will just give you general information about the process of changing ones status and applying for a “student” F-1 Visa.
If you have any specific questions, please contact a lawyer or an appropriate government official.
As most readers of this blog already know, an F-1 Student Visa is the type of visa required for non-immigrants to enter the United States in order to study full-time at an SEVP (Student and Exchange Visitor Program) approved academic or language institution, such as Language On English Schools.
Upon commencing their course of studies, full-time non-immigrant students gain F-1 status.
There are only two ways for an individual to acquire F-1 status:
(1) The person must either apply for an F-1 visa from abroad (this means from outside the United States) and then enter the United States using that F-1 visa within 30 days of their program’s scheduled start date.
(2) For many individuals who are already lawfully present in the United States with another active immigration status, apply for a change of status (also called an adjustment of status) from their current status to F-1.
This blog post will explain who is legally eligible to change their immigration status to F-1 .
Under United States immigration law, most non-immigrants who are lawfully present in the United States with an active immigration status are eligible to apply for a change of status (COS) to F-1 in order to study full time.
Those with an expired status, (such as a tourist who has overstayed his or her six months of eligibility to remain in the United States), are not eligible to apply for a change of status.
However, there are two major exceptions to this generalization.
(1) The first major exception applies to vocational and technical students with M-1 status.
M-1 students studying in an SEVP approved vocational or technical program are not eligible to change their immigration status at all (to F-1 or any other status), as this is specifically prohibited by U.S. immigration law.
If an M-1 student wishes to study in an academic or language program, the student must return to his or her country of origin and apply for an F-1 visa as an initial attendance student.
(2) The second major exception involves foreigners who entered the United States without a visa by participating in the Visa Waiver program (VWP).
Visa waiver program participants can only apply to adjust their immigration status if they have an immediate relative who is a United States citizen, and even then there are very strict application and timing requirements.
Otherwise, VWP participants are not eligible to apply for a change of immigration status.
As is the case for M-1 students, if visa waiver program participants decide to pursue full-time academic or language study at an SEVP approved school, they must return to their home country and apply for an F-1 visa from abroad.
If you would like to learn more about changing your immigration status, you can visit the USCIS website.