Change of Status to F-1

Students already present in the U.S. may be required to, or wish to, change their current immigration status to F-1 Student prior to or during their enrollment at NJIT. Students may gain F-1 Student status in one of two ways:

  1. Students may TRAVEL outside of the US, after obtaining an NJIT Form I-20, in order to attend an F-1 Visa Interview and re-enter the US in F-1 status
  2. Students may apply to USCIS for a CHANGE OF STATUS, if they are unable to travel or have no upcoming travel plans. 


If you are planning to change your status to F-1, you should make an appointment with an international student adviser to discuss your options and next steps.  More information can also be found on our website

You may be able to change status if:

  • You are maintaining your current status.
  • You are eligible for the new F-1 status.
  • Your current status does not prohibit change of status in the U.S.

You generally cannot change status if your period of authorized stay has already expired or if you have otherwise violated the conditions of your current status. There could be other restrictions as well, such as individuals admitted under the Visa Waiver Program. Contact an international adviser for more information.


STEP 1: Request an I-20 form. Processing time is 7 business days.

  1. If you are a recent admit, inform the Office of Admissions that you want to change your status, or contact OGI as soon as possible after your admission. If you are a continuing student on a different visa, make an appointment with an OGI adviser.
  2. Submit the Change of Status Form to OGI.
  3. Submit a copy of your admission letter, financial statement and proof of sufficient funding, copy of the biographical page of your passport, current visa and I-94.
  4. If your spouse or child (ren) will be your dependents in the U.S., submit copies of their passports.

STEP 2: Pick up your new I-20 and mail a complete application to USCIS. USCIS can take more than 6 months to process a change of status application. Your current visa type must remain during the processing time. 

  1. Form I-539
  2. Filing fee: check or money order made out to U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
  3. Form G-1145 (optional) if you would like to receive an electronic receipt that your application was received.
  4. Copy of valid and properly signed Form I-20: Don’t forget to sign your new I-20. Submit a copy and keep the original form.
  5. Proof of payment of the SEVIS I-901 fee: go to  to pay and print your receipt.
  6. Copy of Form I-94
  7. Copies of current immigration status documents, visa stamp, and passport ID pages.
  8. Copies of financial support documents: use the same kind of financial support information used to obtain an F-1 visa.
  9. Dependent family member documentation: if dependent family members currently in the U.S. plan to change their status as well, their information should be included in Form I-539, they should each be issued SEVIS dependent I-20s, and documentation showing the validity of their current immigration status, including their Forms I-94, should be included.
  10. Letter from the student explaining why he or she wants to change status to F-1. (Optional) A strong letter can help convince USCIS of the student's temporary intent as well as persuade USCIS that the student did not have a pre-conceived intention to study in the U.S.


Your letter to USCIS is very important to this application; this is your chance to explain to the government why you decided to change your status. This information is meant to serve as guide; you may or may not use these suggestions to write your letter.

Your letter does not need to be long or complicated; it can be divided into 3 main paragraphs:

Paragraph 1: Explain why you came to the U.S. and what you have been doing since you arrived.

Paragraph 2: Explain why you want to change your status to F-1 or F-2 (dependent).

Paragraph 3: Explain the reason you will be returning to your home country after completion of your studies or your spouse/parent’s studies if you are changing status to F-2. If you were employed back home, explain how your studies will affect returning to that employment. If you were not employed back home, describe how your studies in the U.S. will help prepare you for a career back home (this is not applicable to changes to F-2 status).                                                                                                             


You must mail your application package to the USCIS Service Center having jurisdiction over the district of your residence. Use a receipt-based mailing option such as certified mail, so that there will be evidence that the documents were received by USCIS. We highly recommend that you make copies of all documents before sending them to USCIS. If you live in New Jersey, your documents must be sent to:

For Express mail and courier deliveries

(DHL, FedEx or UPS):
Attn: I-539

2501 S. State Hwy. 121 Business
Suite 400
Lewisville, TX 75067

For U.S. Postal Service (USPS):

PO Box 660166
Dallas, TX 75266