Change of Status
Rock Creek, Bldg. 5, Room 203
A change of status means you are changing your reason for staying in the United States. For instance, maybe you came as a tourist or were a dependent on another kind of status and now you want to become an F-1 visa student to complete a degree here.
If you currently under the following visa categories, you are eligible for change of status to F-1 student:
- Visitor for business or pleasure
- Treaty trader or investor
- Dependent of F-1
- Specialty worker
- Dependent of Specialty worker
- Exchange Visitor
- Intra-company transfer
- Workers of Extraordinary ability
- Religious Worker
This is not a routine application and is reviewed on a case-by-case basis. If you are eligible for a change of status application, you will receive a new SEVIS I-20 for this purpose.
Please note: Approval for change of status is granted only by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and PCC cannot guarantee approval of your application.
Applying for Change of Status is a two-step process:
- Apply for admission to PCC.
- Speak to a staff member in Office of International Education. We will help you prepare the application packet to be sent to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for review. To make an appointment, please call 971-722-7150. Bring the following documents to the appointment:
- Your I-94 card, and passport
- Proof of financial documents
- Letter of explanation why you are requesting a change of status
Your complete application packet will include:
- Completed change of status application form and application fee
- Original SEVIS I-20 from Office of International Education
- Photocopies of passport bio and visa pages
- Photocopy of front and back of the I-94 card
- Letter of explanation from you, addresses to USCIS
- Proof of financial support documents
You should receive a receipt in about 45 working days that will tell you approximately how long it will take. The usual amount of time is about 90-180 working days.
Frequently Asked Questions
Click the question to receive the answer.
- What is the difference between status and visa?
Your U.S. visa is for the purpose of entering the U.S. It is a stamped document in your passport that allows you to enter and re-enter the U.S. for a period of time (usually 1-10 years).
Your status is indicated on your I-94. It is usually a time sensitive document that indicates the type and duration of entry. Look at the endorsement on your I-94 in the upper right hand corner (for example B-2 until 2/20/02 - this indicates that you have a tourist visa and you can stay in the U.S. until February 20, 2002).
- What is a change of status?
A change of status means you are changing your reason for staying in the United States. For instance, maybe you came as a tourist or were a dependent on another kind of status and now you want to do something else (perhaps you want to complete a degree here).
- If I change my status will my visa change too?
No. You can change your status (purpose for your stay) here but your visa can only be changed at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy outside the United States.
- My current status will expire soon, when should I apply for a change of status?
You should apply to the USCIS no later than 45 days before it expires. If your current I-94 expires on September 1, you should apply for the change by July 15.
- How can I change my status to student?
You must first apply as an international student to a school. Once the school has agreed to admit you, then you can request that Immigration change your status (reason for staying in the U.S.).
- What forms are required for a change of status?
You must have a SEVIS I-20 from the school that has admitted you. You will also need a Form I-539 and proof of finances from your sponsor. If your sponsor is an American citizen or permanent resident here, you will need to have them complete a Form I-134. .
- What additional documents must I send?
You should send a copy of the photo page of your passport (make sure your passport will be valid for at least six months at the time you send in your request). You also need to send a copy of your I-94 and a written letter explaining how you have paid for your stay in the United States without working.
- Is there a fee for this?
Yes. USCIS fee is $195.00 U.S. to process a request for change of status. This is payable (in a bank draft or personal check) to "USCIS".
- Where do I send the request?
You should send it to the Northern Service Center of USCIS. Please check the official mailing address on their website (www.USCIS.gov).
- Should I keep a copy of everything I send?
- How long will the whole process take?
Your should receive a receipt from the USCIS in about 45 working days that will tell you approximately how long the processing will take. The usual amount of time is about 90-180 working days.
- While I am waiting can I travel outside the U.S.?
No. If you leave the U.S. for any reason it will cause your request to be terminated - this includes traveling across the border to Canada or a quick trip to Mexico.
- While I am waiting can I attend classes at PCC?
Yes, generally. You should enroll full-time for the first term that noted on your I-20 was written for. If you do not, it may complicate your situation if your request is processed and granted quickly.
B visa holders and F-2s cannot attend school while they wait for the change of status application to be approved.
- May I work on campus while I am waiting?
No. You are not eligible to work until the USCIS has completed the processing of your application.